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  •  The finance minister said they are trying their best to improve Pakistan s condition under Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif s leadership Finance Minister Ishaq Dar on Friday said Pakistan is the only country founded in the name of Islam and Allah is responsible for its development and prosperity as the cash strapped nation faced an acute balance of payments crisis Addressing the inauguration ceremony of the Green Line Express Train service here the senior Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz PML N leader said that he had full faith that Pakistan would progress because it was created in the name of Islam If Allah can create Pakistan then He can also protect develop and make it prosper Dar said The finance minister said they are trying their best to improve Pakistan s condition under Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif s leadership Dar reiterated the incumbent government inherited several problems from the previous government led by Imran Khan adding the government was working day and night The team is trying to improve the situation ahead of the elections He said the country is still suffering due to the drama that started five years ago and insisted that the economy was strong during former prime minister Nawaz Sharif s tenure from 2013 2017 The finance minister claimed that Pakistan Stock Exchange was the best performing capital market in South Asia and ranked fifth in the world during Nawaz Sharif s era and the sights of the world institutions were set on it Dar said that Pakistan was now paying the price for the Panama drama the ouster of the PML N government and similar issues it faced over the last five years Pakistan was on the growth track during Nawaz s tenure but it was derailed he said People can see the destruction the country suffered in the last five years and they know who has delivered in the past Dar added Facing an acute balance of payments crisis Pakistan is desperate to secure much needed external financing with less than three weeks worth of import cover in its foreign exchange reserves which fell USD 923 million to USD 3 68 billion Pakistan secured a USD 6 billion IMF bailout in 2019 It was topped up with another USD 1 1 billion in 2022 to help the country following the unprecedented floods But the IMF suspended disbursements in November due to Pakistan s failure to make more progress on fiscal consolidation amidst political turmoil in the country Meanwhile the Washington based global lender announced on Thursday that it was sending a staff mission to Islamabad this month to discuss resuming the bailout programme Despite repeated claims by the finance minister who replaced Miftah Ismail to bring the dollar rate under Rs 200 the greenback surged to a record high of Rs 268 30 in the interbank market The Pakistani rupee extended its downward trend on Friday with the local currency plunging over Rs 12 against the US dollar in the interbank market as the government eased its control over the currency in order to convince the International Monetary Fund IMF to release pending loan tranche The local unit was trading at Rs 268 30 compared to Thursday s close of Rs 255 43 in the interbank market Credit https www outlookindia com business allah is responsible for pakistan s development says pak finance minister news 257311
    Allah Is Responsible For Pakistan’s Development, Says Pak Finance Minister 
     The finance minister said they are trying their best to improve Pakistan s condition under Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif s leadership Finance Minister Ishaq Dar on Friday said Pakistan is the only country founded in the name of Islam and Allah is responsible for its development and prosperity as the cash strapped nation faced an acute balance of payments crisis Addressing the inauguration ceremony of the Green Line Express Train service here the senior Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz PML N leader said that he had full faith that Pakistan would progress because it was created in the name of Islam If Allah can create Pakistan then He can also protect develop and make it prosper Dar said The finance minister said they are trying their best to improve Pakistan s condition under Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif s leadership Dar reiterated the incumbent government inherited several problems from the previous government led by Imran Khan adding the government was working day and night The team is trying to improve the situation ahead of the elections He said the country is still suffering due to the drama that started five years ago and insisted that the economy was strong during former prime minister Nawaz Sharif s tenure from 2013 2017 The finance minister claimed that Pakistan Stock Exchange was the best performing capital market in South Asia and ranked fifth in the world during Nawaz Sharif s era and the sights of the world institutions were set on it Dar said that Pakistan was now paying the price for the Panama drama the ouster of the PML N government and similar issues it faced over the last five years Pakistan was on the growth track during Nawaz s tenure but it was derailed he said People can see the destruction the country suffered in the last five years and they know who has delivered in the past Dar added Facing an acute balance of payments crisis Pakistan is desperate to secure much needed external financing with less than three weeks worth of import cover in its foreign exchange reserves which fell USD 923 million to USD 3 68 billion Pakistan secured a USD 6 billion IMF bailout in 2019 It was topped up with another USD 1 1 billion in 2022 to help the country following the unprecedented floods But the IMF suspended disbursements in November due to Pakistan s failure to make more progress on fiscal consolidation amidst political turmoil in the country Meanwhile the Washington based global lender announced on Thursday that it was sending a staff mission to Islamabad this month to discuss resuming the bailout programme Despite repeated claims by the finance minister who replaced Miftah Ismail to bring the dollar rate under Rs 200 the greenback surged to a record high of Rs 268 30 in the interbank market The Pakistani rupee extended its downward trend on Friday with the local currency plunging over Rs 12 against the US dollar in the interbank market as the government eased its control over the currency in order to convince the International Monetary Fund IMF to release pending loan tranche The local unit was trading at Rs 268 30 compared to Thursday s close of Rs 255 43 in the interbank market Credit https www outlookindia com business allah is responsible for pakistan s development says pak finance minister news 257311
    Allah Is Responsible For Pakistan’s Development, Says Pak Finance Minister 
    General news2 days ago

    Allah Is Responsible For Pakistan’s Development, Says Pak Finance Minister 

    The finance minister said, "they are trying their best to improve Pakistan's condition under Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif's leadership"

    Finance Minister Ishaq Dar on Friday said Pakistan is the only country founded in the name of Islam and Allah is responsible for its development and prosperity, as the cash-strapped nation faced an acute balance of payments crisis.

    Addressing the inauguration ceremony of the Green Line Express Train service here, the senior Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader said that he had full faith that Pakistan would progress because it was created in the name of Islam.

    "If Allah can create Pakistan then He can also protect, develop, and make it prosper," Dar said.

    The finance minister said, "they are trying their best to improve Pakistan's condition under Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif's leadership".

    Dar reiterated the incumbent government inherited several problems from the previous government led by Imran Khan, adding, the government was working day and night.

    "The team is trying to improve the situation ahead of the elections."

    He said the country is still suffering due to the "drama" that started five years ago and insisted that the economy was strong during former prime minister Nawaz Sharif's tenure from 2013-2017.

    The finance minister claimed that Pakistan Stock Exchange was the best-performing capital market in South Asia and ranked fifth in the world during Nawaz Sharif's era and the sights of the world institutions were set on it.

    Dar said that Pakistan was now paying the price for the "Panama drama", the ouster of the PML-N government, and similar issues it faced over the last five years."Pakistan was on the growth track during Nawaz's tenure, but it was derailed," he said.

    "People can see the destruction the country suffered in the last five years, and they know who has delivered in the past," Dar added.

    Facing an acute balance of payments crisis, Pakistan is desperate to secure much-needed external financing, with less than three weeks' worth of import cover in its foreign exchange reserves, which fell USD 923 million to USD 3.68 billion.

    Pakistan secured a USD 6 billion IMF bailout in 2019. It was topped up with another USD 1.1 billion in 2022 to help the country following the unprecedented floods. But the IMF suspended disbursements in November due to Pakistan's failure to make more progress on fiscal consolidation amidst political turmoil in the country.

    Meanwhile, the Washington-based global lender announced on Thursday that it was sending a staff mission to Islamabad this month to discuss resuming the bailout programme.

    Despite repeated claims by the finance minister, who replaced Miftah Ismail, to bring the dollar rate under Rs 200, the greenback surged to a record high of Rs 268.30 in the interbank market.

    The Pakistani rupee extended its downward trend on Friday with the local currency plunging over Rs 12 against the US dollar in the interbank market as the government eased its control over the currency in order to convince the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to release pending loan tranche.

    The local unit was trading at Rs 268.30 compared to Thursday's close of Rs 255.43 in the interbank market.

    Credit: https://www.outlookindia.com/business/allah-is-responsible-for-pakistan-s-development-says-pak-finance-minister--news-257311

  •  Most importantly for traders TSLA stock has surmounted the strong resistance at 154 This means that Tesla is almost certainly back in a sustained uptrend For CEO Elon Musk s Tesla Thursday s market is a double whammy First TSLA stock is dashing ahead based on Elon Musk s bullish delivery projections Then US GDP data shows that the US economy is more robust than previously thought Elon Musk surprised the market late Wednesday when he said though Tesla s delivery guidance for 2023 was set at 1 8 million January s strong order volume was leading him to believe that 2 million might be closer to the final figure This is because Tesla s late December price cuts across most of its models was spurring a surge in new orders In fact Musk said that orders were nearly twice current production levels High January volume though could always just be cannabalizing demand for later in the year Still shareholders saw a lot to be excited about Besides strong demand Tesla will begin work on a 3 5 billion plant in Nevada to start making semi trucks With price tags above half a million dollars this market will surely greatly bulk up Tesla revenues Additionally early production will begin this Summer on the Cybertruck though full commercial production will not begin until 2024 Tesla stock was met with a host of price target raises by analysts on Thursday Wedbush Securities raised their price target from 175 to 200 Cowen raised it from 122 to 140 Wells Fargo raised it from 130 to 150 Wolfe Research raised it from 160 to 185 Bank of America raised it from 130 to 155 Citigroup raised its price target from 137 to 146 Tesla stock pushing back the 154 price level is quite significant This price acted a strong resistance on a slew of occasions in the second half of 2020 This time it is not taking three tries Tesla bulls now faces off against 167 50 This price level worked as resistance twice in 2020 and then again as support in November 2022 The next area of interest above 167 50 is the support zone between 180 and 182 50 Bulls should take note however that Tesla stock has advanced far into overbought territory on the Relative Strength Index RSI which normally means that a consolidation period is ahead Based on the euphoria in markets that does seem unlikely though Information on these pages contains forward looking statements that involve risks and uncertainties Markets and instruments profiled on this page are for informational purposes only and should not in any way come across as a recommendation to buy or sell in these assets You should do your own thorough research before making any investment decisions FXStreet does not in any way guarantee that this information is free from mistakes errors or material misstatements It also does not guarantee that this information is of a timely nature Investing in Open Markets involves a great deal of risk including the loss of all or a portion of your investment as well as emotional distress All risks losses and costs associated with investing including total loss of principal are your responsibility The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of FXStreet nor its advertisers The author will not be held responsible for information that is found at the end of links posted on this page If not otherwise explicitly mentioned in the body of the article at the time of writing the author has no position in any stock mentioned in this article and no business relationship with any company mentioned The author has not received compensation for writing this article other than from FXStreet FXStreet and the author do not provide personalized recommendations The author makes no representations as to the accuracy completeness or suitability of this information FXStreet and the author will not be liable for any errors omissions or any losses injuries or damages arising from this information and its display or use Errors and omissions excepted The author and FXStreet are not registered investment advisors and nothing in this article is intended to be investment advice AUD USD remains dicey around 0 7120 15 as bulls try hard to defend the five day winning streak near the highest levels since June 2022 during early Friday The Aussie pair s latest struggle could be linked to the mixed Aussie data and cautious mood ahead of the Federal Reserve s Fed preferred inflation gauge USD JPY renews intraday low to 129 75 as Japan inflation data renews hawkish bias over the Bank of Japan BoJ during early Friday The US Dollar s lack of ability to extend the previous day s rebound as well as cautious mood ahead of the key inflation precursor tracked by the Federal Reserve Fed also weigh on the Yen pair Gold price has refreshed its day s high at 1 935 00 in the Asian session The precious metal picked strength after a minor drop below 1 930 00 which poised a bargain opportunity for gold buyers Hedera Hashgraph price continues to bless loyal investors as the scalable smart contract token has rallied by 117 since the start of the new year On January 26 HBAR hovers in the mid 0 06 zone as a profit taking rally occurred following the newly established monthly high at 081 Wall Street insiders continue to debate conflicting economic data and a possible earnings recession ahead Data and earnings so far actually offer convincing evidence to support both sides of the arguments which is making it tough for either the bulls or the bears to gain an upper hand Credit https www fxstreet com news tesla stock forecast tsla blasts through 154 resistance 16750 next up 202301261601
    TSLA blasts through 4 resistance, 7.50 next up
     Most importantly for traders TSLA stock has surmounted the strong resistance at 154 This means that Tesla is almost certainly back in a sustained uptrend For CEO Elon Musk s Tesla Thursday s market is a double whammy First TSLA stock is dashing ahead based on Elon Musk s bullish delivery projections Then US GDP data shows that the US economy is more robust than previously thought Elon Musk surprised the market late Wednesday when he said though Tesla s delivery guidance for 2023 was set at 1 8 million January s strong order volume was leading him to believe that 2 million might be closer to the final figure This is because Tesla s late December price cuts across most of its models was spurring a surge in new orders In fact Musk said that orders were nearly twice current production levels High January volume though could always just be cannabalizing demand for later in the year Still shareholders saw a lot to be excited about Besides strong demand Tesla will begin work on a 3 5 billion plant in Nevada to start making semi trucks With price tags above half a million dollars this market will surely greatly bulk up Tesla revenues Additionally early production will begin this Summer on the Cybertruck though full commercial production will not begin until 2024 Tesla stock was met with a host of price target raises by analysts on Thursday Wedbush Securities raised their price target from 175 to 200 Cowen raised it from 122 to 140 Wells Fargo raised it from 130 to 150 Wolfe Research raised it from 160 to 185 Bank of America raised it from 130 to 155 Citigroup raised its price target from 137 to 146 Tesla stock pushing back the 154 price level is quite significant This price acted a strong resistance on a slew of occasions in the second half of 2020 This time it is not taking three tries Tesla bulls now faces off against 167 50 This price level worked as resistance twice in 2020 and then again as support in November 2022 The next area of interest above 167 50 is the support zone between 180 and 182 50 Bulls should take note however that Tesla stock has advanced far into overbought territory on the Relative Strength Index RSI which normally means that a consolidation period is ahead Based on the euphoria in markets that does seem unlikely though Information on these pages contains forward looking statements that involve risks and uncertainties Markets and instruments profiled on this page are for informational purposes only and should not in any way come across as a recommendation to buy or sell in these assets You should do your own thorough research before making any investment decisions FXStreet does not in any way guarantee that this information is free from mistakes errors or material misstatements It also does not guarantee that this information is of a timely nature Investing in Open Markets involves a great deal of risk including the loss of all or a portion of your investment as well as emotional distress All risks losses and costs associated with investing including total loss of principal are your responsibility The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of FXStreet nor its advertisers The author will not be held responsible for information that is found at the end of links posted on this page If not otherwise explicitly mentioned in the body of the article at the time of writing the author has no position in any stock mentioned in this article and no business relationship with any company mentioned The author has not received compensation for writing this article other than from FXStreet FXStreet and the author do not provide personalized recommendations The author makes no representations as to the accuracy completeness or suitability of this information FXStreet and the author will not be liable for any errors omissions or any losses injuries or damages arising from this information and its display or use Errors and omissions excepted The author and FXStreet are not registered investment advisors and nothing in this article is intended to be investment advice AUD USD remains dicey around 0 7120 15 as bulls try hard to defend the five day winning streak near the highest levels since June 2022 during early Friday The Aussie pair s latest struggle could be linked to the mixed Aussie data and cautious mood ahead of the Federal Reserve s Fed preferred inflation gauge USD JPY renews intraday low to 129 75 as Japan inflation data renews hawkish bias over the Bank of Japan BoJ during early Friday The US Dollar s lack of ability to extend the previous day s rebound as well as cautious mood ahead of the key inflation precursor tracked by the Federal Reserve Fed also weigh on the Yen pair Gold price has refreshed its day s high at 1 935 00 in the Asian session The precious metal picked strength after a minor drop below 1 930 00 which poised a bargain opportunity for gold buyers Hedera Hashgraph price continues to bless loyal investors as the scalable smart contract token has rallied by 117 since the start of the new year On January 26 HBAR hovers in the mid 0 06 zone as a profit taking rally occurred following the newly established monthly high at 081 Wall Street insiders continue to debate conflicting economic data and a possible earnings recession ahead Data and earnings so far actually offer convincing evidence to support both sides of the arguments which is making it tough for either the bulls or the bears to gain an upper hand Credit https www fxstreet com news tesla stock forecast tsla blasts through 154 resistance 16750 next up 202301261601
    TSLA blasts through 4 resistance, 7.50 next up
    General news3 days ago

    TSLA blasts through $154 resistance, $167.50 next up

    Most importantly for traders, TSLA stock has surmounted the strong resistance at $154. This means that Tesla is almost certainly back in a sustained uptrend.

    For CEO Elon Musk's Tesla, Thursday's market is a double-whammy. First, TSLA stock is dashing ahead based on Elon Musk's bullish delivery projections. Then US GDP data shows that the US economy is more robust than previously thought.

    Elon Musk surprised the market late Wednesday when he said though Tesla's delivery guidance for 2023 was set at 1.8 million, January's strong order volume was leading him to believe that 2 million might be closer to the final figure. This is because Tesla's late December price cuts across most of its models was spurring a surge in new orders. In fact, Musk said that orders were nearly twice current production levels. High January volume though could always just be cannabalizing demand for later in the year.

    Still shareholders saw a lot to be excited about. Besides strong demand, Tesla will begin work on a $3.5 billion plant in Nevada to start making semi-trucks. With price tags above half a million dollars, this market will surely greatly bulk up Tesla revenues. Additionally, early production will begin this Summer on the Cybertruck, though full commercial production will not begin until 2024.

    Tesla stock was met with a host of price target raises by analysts on Thursday. Wedbush Securities raised their price target from $175 to $200. Cowen raised it from $122 to $140. Wells Fargo raised it from $130 to $150. Wolfe Research raised it from $160 to $185. Bank of America raised it from $130 to $155. Citigroup raised its price target from $137 to $146.

    Tesla stock pushing back the $154 price level is quite significant. This price acted a strong resistance on a slew of occasions in the second half of 2020. This time it is not taking three tries. Tesla bulls now faces off against $167.50. This price level worked as resistance twice in 2020 and then again as support in November 2022. The next area of interest above $167.50 is the support zone between $180 and $182.50. Bulls should take note, however, that Tesla stock has advanced far into overbought territory on the Relative Strength Index (RSI), which normally means that a consolidation period is ahead. Based on the euphoria in markets, that does seem unlikely though.

    Information on these pages contains forward-looking statements that involve risks and uncertainties. Markets and instruments profiled on this page are for informational purposes only and should not in any way come across as a recommendation to buy or sell in these assets. You should do your own thorough research before making any investment decisions. FXStreet does not in any way guarantee that this information is free from mistakes, errors, or material misstatements. It also does not guarantee that this information is of a timely nature. Investing in Open Markets involves a great deal of risk, including the loss of all or a portion of your investment, as well as emotional distress. All risks, losses and costs associated with investing, including total loss of principal, are your responsibility. The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of FXStreet nor its advertisers. The author will not be held responsible for information that is found at the end of links posted on this page.

    If not otherwise explicitly mentioned in the body of the article, at the time of writing, the author has no position in any stock mentioned in this article and no business relationship with any company mentioned. The author has not received compensation for writing this article, other than from FXStreet.

    FXStreet and the author do not provide personalized recommendations. The author makes no representations as to the accuracy, completeness, or suitability of this information. FXStreet and the author will not be liable for any errors, omissions or any losses, injuries or damages arising from this information and its display or use. Errors and omissions excepted.

    The author and FXStreet are not registered investment advisors and nothing in this article is intended to be investment advice.

    AUD/USD remains dicey around 0.7120-15 as bulls try hard to defend the five-day winning streak near the highest levels since June 2022 during early Friday. The Aussie pair’s latest struggle could be linked to the mixed Aussie data and cautious mood ahead of the Federal Reserve’s (Fed) preferred inflation gauge.

    USD/JPY renews intraday low to 129.75 as Japan inflation data renews hawkish bias over the Bank of Japan (BoJ) during early Friday. The US Dollar’s lack of ability to extend the previous day’s rebound, as well as cautious mood ahead of the key inflation precursor tracked by the Federal Reserve (Fed), also weigh on the Yen pair.

    Gold price has refreshed its day’s high at $1,935.00 in the Asian session. The precious metal picked strength after a minor drop below $1,930.00, which poised a bargain opportunity for gold buyers.

    Hedera Hashgraph price continues to bless loyal investors as the scalable smart contract token has rallied by 117% since the start of the new year. On January 26, HBAR hovers in the mid $0.06 zone as a profit-taking rally occurred following the newly established monthly high at $.081.

    Wall Street insiders continue to debate conflicting economic data and a possible earnings recession ahead. Data and earnings so far actually offer convincing evidence to support both sides of the arguments which is making it tough for either the bulls or the bears to gain an upper hand.

    Credit: https://www.fxstreet.com/news/tesla-stock-forecast-tsla-blasts-through-154-resistance-16750-next-up-202301261601

  •  Image source The Motley Fool Greetings and welcome to the Microsoft fiscal year 2023 second quarter earnings conference call At this time all participants are in a listen only mode A question and answer session will follow the formal presentation Operator instructions As a reminder this conference is being recorded I would now like to turn the conference over to your host Brett Iversen vice president investor relations Good afternoon and thank you for joining us today On the call with me are Satya Nadella chairman and chief executive officer Amy Hood chief financial officer Alice Jolla chief accounting officer and Keith Dolliver deputy general counsel On the Microsoft Investor Relations website you can find our earnings press release and financial summary slide deck which is intended to supplement our prepared remarks during today s call and provides the reconciliation of differences between GAAP and non GAAP financial measures On this call we will discuss certain non GAAP items The non GAAP financial measures provided should not be considered as a substitute for or superior to the measures of financial performance prepared in accordance with GAAP They are included as additional clarifying items to aid investors in further understanding the company s second quarter performance in addition to the impact these items and events have on the financial results All growth comparisons we make on the call today relate to the corresponding period of last year unless otherwise noted We will also provide growth rates in constant currency when available as a framework for assessing how our underlying businesses performed excluding the effect of foreign currency rate fluctuations They just revealed what they believe are the ten best stocks for investors to buy right now and Microsoft wasn t one of them That s right they think these 10 stocks are even better buys Where growth rates are the same in constant currency we ll refer to the growth rate only We will post our prepared remarks to our website immediately following the call until the complete transcript is available Today s call is being webcast live and recorded If you ask a question it will be included in our live transmission in the transcript and in any future use of the recording You can replay the call and view the transcript on the Microsoft Investor Relations website During this call we ll be making forward looking statements which are predictions projections or other statements about future events These statements are based on current expectations and assumptions that are subject to risks and uncertainties Actual results could materially differ because of factors discussed in today s earnings press release in the comments made during this conference call and in the Risk Factors section of our Form 10 K Forms 10 Q and other reports and filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission We do not undertake any duty to update any forward looking statement And with that I ll turn the call over to Satya Thank you very much Brett I want to start with the context I shared with our employees last week on the changing environment and our priorities As I meet with customers and partners a few things are increasingly clear Just as we saw customers accelerate their digital spend during the pandemic we are now seeing them optimize that spend Also organizations are exercising caution given the macroeconomic uncertainty And the next major wave of computing is being born as we turn the world s most advanced AI models into a new computing platform In this environment we remain convicted on three things This is an important time for Microsoft to work with our customers helping them realize more value from their tech spend and building long term loyalty and share position while internally aligning our own cost structure with our revenue growth This in turn sets us up to participate in the secular trend where digital spend as a percentage of GDP is only going to increase And lastly we re going to lead in the AI era knowing that maximum enterprise value gets created during platform shifts With that as a backdrop the Microsoft Cloud exceeded 27 billion in quarterly revenue up 22 and 29 in constant currency Now I ll highlight examples of our innovation starting with Azure Moving to the cloud is the best way for any customer in today s economy to mitigate demand uncertainty and energy costs while gaining efficiencies of cloud native development Enterprises have moved millions of cases to Azure and run twice as many calls on our cloud today than they did two years ago And yet we re still in the early innings when it comes to long term cloud opportunity As an example insurer AIA was able to save more than 20 by migrating to Azure and reduced IT provisioning time from multiple months to just an hour We also continue to lead with hybrid computing with Azure Arc We now have more than 12 000 Arc customers double the number a year ago including companies like Citrix Northern Trust and PayPal Now on to data Customers continue to choose and implement the Microsoft Intelligent Data Platform over the competition because of its comprehensiveness integration and lower cost Bayer for example used the data stack to evaluate results from clinical trials faster and more efficiently while meeting regulatory requirements and ASOS chose Cosmos DB to power real time product recommendations and order processing for over 26 million global customers Now on to AI The age of AI is upon us and Microsoft is powering it We are witnessing nonlinear improvements in capability of foundation models which we are making available as platforms And as customers select their cloud providers and invest in new workloads we are well positioned to capture that opportunity as a leader in AI We have the most powerful AI supercomputing infrastructure in the cloud It s being used by customers and partners like OpenAI to train state of the art models and services including ChatGPT Just last week we made our Azure OpenAI service broadly available and already over 200 customers from KPMG to Al Jazeera are using it We will soon add support for ChatGPT enabling customers to use it in their own applications for the first time And yesterday we announced the completion of the next phase of our agreement with OpenAI We are pleased to be their exclusive cloud provider and we ll deploy their models across our consumer and enterprise products as we continue to push the state of the art in AI All of this innovation is driving growth across our Azure AI services Azure ML revenue alone has increased more than 100 for five quarters in a row with companies like AXA FedEx and H amp R Block choosing the service to deploy manage and govern their models Now on to developers Modernizing applications is mission critical to any company s operations today And with GitHub Visual Studio and Azure Pass services we have the most comprehensive portfolio of tools to help GitHub is now home to 100 million developers and GitHub Copilot is the first at scale AI product built for this era fundamentally transforming developer productivity More than 1 million people have used Copilot to date This quarter we brought Copilot to businesses and we have seen strong interest and early adoption from companies including Duolingo Lemonade and Volkswagen CARIAD Software Group Now on to Power Platform Power Platform is becoming an essential digital transformation tool as every business looks to streamline their operations and drive productivity in today s environment We are helping customers realize superior time to value with our end to end suite spanning low code no code tools automation virtual agents and business intelligence We are leading in robotic process automation Power Automate has more than 45 000 customers from AT amp T to Rabobank up over 50 year over year And we are making it easier for anyone to streamline repetitive tasks introducing new AI powered features to turn natural language prompts into complex workflows Now on to business applications Dynamics 365 is taking share as we help businesses digitize their service finance customer experience and supply chain functions For example J amp J Pepsi Cola Bottlers is moving from reactive to predictive field service Fuji Films is optimizing its operations Investec is closing deals faster with conversational intelligence Baylor Scott amp White in Texas is using our digital contact center to enhance patient communications And this quarter we introduced our new supply chain platform helping customers like iFit and Kraft Heinz apply AI to predict and mitigate disruptions Now on to Industry Solutions Our industry and cross industry clouds are driving pull through for our entire tech stack Our cloud for retail was front and center at NRF last week as we introduced new tools to help retailers manage their day to day operations and digitize their physical stores Polish retailer Zabka has built the largest chain of autonomous stores in Europe with the help of our technology In Financial Services our new partnership with London Stock Exchange Group will deliver next generation of data analytics and workspace solutions And in healthcare we are rapidly becoming the partner of choice for any provider looking to generate real value from AI With Nuance DAX ambient intelligence solution physicians can reduce documentation time by half improving the quality of their patient interactions Now on to systems of work Microsoft 365 Teams and Viva are essential for every organization to adapt to the new world of work Microsoft 365 is rapidly evolving into an AI first platform that enables every individual to amplify their creativity and productivity with both our established applications as well as new applications like Designer Stream and Loop We have more than 63 million consumer subscribers up 12 year over year and we introduced Microsoft 365 Basic bringing our premium offerings to more people Teams surpassed 280 million monthly active users this quarter showing durable momentum since the pandemic and we continue to take share across every category from collaboration to chat to meetings to calling Teams has emerged as a first class platform Apps from Adobe Atlassian Poly ServiceNow and Workday have each surpassed 0 5 million active users and the number of third party apps with more than 10 000 users increased nearly 40 year over year There are more than 500 000 active Teams Rooms devices up 70 year over year and the number of customers with more than 1 000 rooms doubled year over year Novo Nordisk will deploy Teams Rooms to 5 000 meeting rooms globally in our largest deal to date Teams Phone continues to take share and is the market leader in cloud calling We have added more than 5 million PSTN seats over the last 12 months alone With Teams Premium we are meeting enterprise demand for advanced features like end to end encryption and AI powered recaps We have seen strong interest in preview and we will make it broadly available next month With Microsoft Viva we have created a new market category for employee experience and organizational productivity U S Bank is using Viva to streamline employee communications and Carlsberg turned to Viva to centralize its digital employee experience for 29 000 employees In today s environment aligning the entire organization and the most important work is critical Viva Goals brings objectives and key results directly into the flow of daily work Viva has also become an indispensable tool for business process Viva Sales is the super app in Microsoft 365 for sellers We have seen strong interest since making it generally available this quarter All up we continue to see organizations consolidate on Microsoft 365 80 of our enterprise customers use five or more Microsoft 365 applications And organizations across the private and public sector including EY IKEA NTT Communications Rio Tinto as well as the state government of Virginia are increasingly choosing our premium E5 offerings for advanced security compliance voice and analytics Now on to Windows While the number of PCs shipped declined during the quarter returning to pre pandemic levels usage intensity of Windows continues to be higher than pre pandemic with time spent per PC up nearly 10 Monthly active devices also reached an all time high this quarter And for commercial customers Windows 11 adoption continues to grow because of its differentiated security and productivity value proposition We re also seeing growth in cloud delivered Windows with usage of Windows 365 and Azure Virtual Desktop up by over two thirds year over year Leaders in every industry from Campari and Grant Thornton U K to Nutrien and Woolworths are using cloud delivered Windows including more than 60 of the Fortune 500 Now on to security Over the past 12 months our security business surpassed 20 billion in revenue as we help customers protect their digital estate across clouds and endpoint platforms We re the only company with integrated end to end tools spanning identity security compliance device management and privacy informed and trained on over 65 trillion signals each day We are taking share across all major categories we serve Customers are consolidating on our security stack in order to reduce risk complexity and cost The number of organizations with four or more workloads increased over 40 year over year U K retailer Fraser Group for example consolidated from 10 security vendors to just Microsoft Roku moved identity and access management to the cloud with Azure Active Directory And Estella Pharma Ferrovial and University of Toronto all switched to Microsoft Sentinel because of our integrated XDR and SIM capabilities Now on to LinkedIn People and companies continue to look to LinkedIn to connect learn sell and get hired We once again saw record engagement among our more than 900 million members Three members are signing up every second Over 80 of these members are from outside the United States And as the members come to the platform to find and share professional knowledge and expertise newsletter creation was up 10x year over year Skills are the new currency and people are increasingly investing in their skill building to keep up with their changing roles in industries We offer more than 20 000 courses in 11 languages and companies are also turning to a skills based approach in place of degree or pedigree to identify qualified talent with more than 45 of the hires on LinkedIn explicitly using skills data to fill their roles Finally LinkedIn Marketing Solutions continues to be a leader in B2B digital advertising helping companies deliver the right message to the right audience on a safe and trusted platform Now on to advertising Despite headwinds in the ad market we continue to innovate across our first and third party portfolios Our browser Microsoft Edge gained share for the seventh consecutive quarter Bing continues to gain share in the United States and daily users of our Start personalized content feed increased over 30 year over year We are now empowering retailers and expanding our third party inventory With PromoteIQ we are building a complete omnichannel media platform for companies like the Australian retailer Endeavor as well as Canada s Hudson s Bay and Global the largest Brazilian TV broadcasters chose Xandr to launch a new media buying platform in that market Now on to gaming In gaming we continue to pursue our ambition to give players more choice to play great games wherever whenever and however they want We saw new highs for Game Pass subscriptions game streaming hours and monthly active devices and monthly active users surpassed a record 120 million during the quarter We continue to invest to add value to Game Pass This quarter we partnered with Riot Games to make the company s PC and mobile games along with premium content available to subscribers And finally we are energized by our upcoming lineup of AAA game launches including exciting new titles from ZeniMax and Xbox Game Studios and we ll be sharing details in gameplay at our showcase tomorrow In closing I want to extend my deepest gratitude to our employees for their continued dedication to our mission customers and partners We will continue to pursue our long term opportunity and innovation agenda with urgency while also raising the bar on our operational excellence With that I ll hand it over to Amy Thank you Satya and good afternoon everyone I d like to start by reiterating Satya s thoughts on the changing environment and our priorities which underpin the decisions communicated in last week s announcement The resulting Q2 charge negatively impacted gross margin by 152 million operating income by 1 2 billion and earnings per share by 0 12 Our second quarter revenue was 52 7 billion up 2 and 7 in constant currency When adjusted for the charge gross margin dollars increased 2 and 8 in constant currency operating income decreased 3 and increased 6 in constant currency and earnings per share was 2 32 which decreased 6 and increased 2 in constant currency In our consumer business the PC market was in line with our expectations but execution challenges impacted our Surface business Advertising spend declined slightly more than expected which impacted search and news advertising and LinkedIn Marketing Solutions In our commercial business we delivered strong growth in line with our expectations However as you heard from Satya we are seeing customers exercise caution in this environment and we saw results weaken through December We saw moderated consumption growth in Azure and lower than expected growth in new business across the stand alone Office 365 EMS and Windows commercial products that are sold outside the Microsoft 365 suite From a geographic perspective we saw strong execution in many regions around the world However performance in the U S was weaker than expected Importantly we continued to see share gains in areas such as data and AI Dynamics Teams Security and Edge Commercial bookings increased 7 and 4 in constant currency lower than expected Consistent execution across our renewal sales motions including strong recapture rates and growth in Azure commitments on a high prior year comparable were partially offset by the slowdown in growth of new stand alone business noted earlier Commercial remaining performance obligation increased 29 to 26 in constant currency to 189 billion Roughly 45 will be recognized in revenue in the next 12 months up 24 year over year The remaining portion which will be recognized beyond the next 12 months increased 32 Our annuity mix increased two points year over year to 96 FX decreased total company revenue by five points in line with expectations At a segment level FX decreased Productivity and Business Processes revenue growth by six points one point favorable to expectations FX impact on Intelligent Cloud and More Personal Computing were both in line with expectations Additionally FX decreased both COGS and operating expense growth by two points one point unfavorable to expectations Microsoft Cloud revenue was 27 1 billion and grew 22 and 29 in constant currency ahead of expectations Microsoft Cloud gross margin percentage increased roughly two points year over year to 72 a point better than expected driven by lower energy costs Excluding the impact of the change in accounting estimate for useful lives Microsoft Cloud gross margin percentage decreased roughly one point primarily driven by sales mix shift to Azure Company gross margin percentage was 67 Excluding the impact of the change in accounting estimate gross margin percentage decreased roughly two points driven by a lower mix of Windows OEM revenue and sales mix shift from licensing to cloud Operating expense when adjusted for the Q2 charge increased 11 and 13 in constant currency about 500 million lower than expected Operating expense growth was driven by investments in cloud engineering the Nuance acquisition and LinkedIn At a total company level headcount ended December 19 higher than a year ago Sequential headcount growth was less than 1 Year over year growth included roughly six points from the Nuance and Xandr acquisitions which closed last Q3 and Q4 respectively Adjusted for the charge operating margins decreased roughly two points year over year to 41 Excluding the impact of the change in accounting estimate operating margins declined roughly four points primarily driven by unfavorable FX impact as well as a lower mix of OEM revenue Now to our segment results Revenue from Productivity and Business Processes was 17 billion and grew 7 and 13 in constant currency in line with expectations when excluding the favorable FX impact noted earlier Office Commercial revenue grew 7 and 14 in constant currency Office 365 Commercial revenue increased 11 and 18 in constant currency slightly better than expected with healthy renewal execution and ARPU growth as E5 momentum remains strong Paid Office 365 Commercial seats grew 12 year over year with installed base expansion across all workloads and customer segments Seat growth was driven by our small and medium business and frontline worker offerings although we saw some impact from the slowdown in growth of new business noted earlier Office Consumer revenue declined 2 and increased 3 in constant currency with continued momentum in Microsoft 365 subscriptions which grew 12 to 63 2 million partially offset by declines in our transactional business LinkedIn revenue increased 10 and 14 in constant currency driven by growth in Talent Solutions partially offset by weakness in Marketing Solutions from the advertising trends noted earlier Dynamics revenue grew 13 and 20 in constant currency driven by Dynamics 365 which grew 21 and 29 in constant currency Segment gross margin dollars increased 8 and 16 in constant currency and gross margin percentage increased roughly one point year over year Excluding the impact of the change in accounting estimate gross margin percentage decreased slightly driven by sales mix shift to cloud offerings Operating expense increased 12 and 14 in constant currency including roughly five points from the Q2 charge Operating income increased 6 and 17 in constant currency as the three points of favorable impact due to the change in accounting estimate were offset by three points of unfavorable impact from the Q2 charge noted earlier Next the Intelligent Cloud segment Revenue was 21 5 billion increasing 18 and 24 in constant currency in line with expectations Overall server products and cloud services revenue increased 20 and 26 in constant currency Azure and other cloud services revenue grew 31 and 38 in constant currency As noted earlier growth continued to moderate particularly in December and we exited the quarter with Azure constant currency growth in the mid 30s In our per user business the Enterprise Mobility and Security installed base grew 16 to over 241 million seats with impact from the slowdown in growth of new business noted earlier In our on premises server business revenue decreased 2 and increased 2 in constant currency with continued hybrid demand offset by weakness in transactional licensing Enterprise Services revenue grew 2 and 7 in constant currency Segment gross margin dollars increased 17 and 23 in constant currency and gross margin percentage decreased slightly Excluding the impact of the change in accounting estimate gross margin percentage declined roughly three points driven by sales mix shift to Azure and higher energy costs Operating expenses increased 34 and 37 in constant currency including roughly 13 points of impact from the Q2 charge noted earlier and roughly seven points of impact from the Nuance acquisition Operating income grew 7 and 15 in constant currency as roughly seven points of favorable impact of the change in accounting estimate was offset by approximately seven points of unfavorable impact from the Q2 charge Now to More Personal Computing Revenue was 14 2 billion decreasing 19 and 16 in constant currency below expectations driven by Surface Windows Commercial and search Windows OEM revenue decreased 39 year over year in line with expectations Excluding the impact from the Windows 11 deferral last year revenue declined 36 on a strong prior year comparable Devices revenue decreased 39 to 34 in constant currency below expectations due to execution challenges on new product launches Windows Commercial products and cloud services revenue declined 3 and increased 3 in constant currency lower than expected primarily due to the slowdown in growth of new business and stand alone offerings noted earlier Search and news advertising revenue ex TAC increased 10 and 15 in constant currency a bit lower than expected as noted earlier Our Edge browser gained more share than expected this quarter The Xandr acquisition contributed roughly six points of benefit And in gaming revenue declined 13 and 9 in constant currency in line with expectations Xbox hardware revenue declined 13 and 9 in constant currency Xbox content and services revenue declined 12 and 8 in constant currency given the strong first party content last year Segment gross margin dollars declined 29 and 24 in constant currency and gross margin percentage decreased roughly seven points year over year driven by lower device gross margin and sales mix shift to lower margin businesses Operating expenses increased 6 and 9 in constant currency including roughly six points of impact from the Q2 charge noted earlier and three points of impact from the Xandr acquisition Operating income decreased 47 and 40 in constant currency including roughly six points of unfavorable impact from the Q2 charge noted earlier Now back to total company results Capital expenditures including finance leases were 6 8 billion to support cloud demand Cash paid for PP amp E was 6 3 billion Cash flow from operations was 11 2 billion down 23 year over year as strong cloud billings and collections were more than offset by a tax payment related to the TCJA capitalization of R amp D provision as well as higher employee and supplier payments Free cash flow was 4 9 billion down 43 year over year Excluding the impact of this tax payment cash flow from operations declined 7 and free cash flow declined 16 This quarter other income and expense was negative 60 million lower than anticipated driven by a mark to market loss on a forward share purchase agreement Our effective tax rate was approximately 19 And finally we returned 9 7 billion to shareholders through share repurchases and dividends Now moving to our Q3 outlook which unless specifically noted otherwise is on a U S dollar basis My commentary for both the full year and next quarter does not include any impact from Activision which we continue to work toward closing in fiscal year 2023 subject to obtaining required regulatory approvals First FX Based on current rates we now expect FX to decrease total revenue growth by approximately three points COGS growth by one point and operating expense growth by two points Within the segments we anticipate roughly four points of negative impact on revenue growth in Productivity and Business Processes three points in Intelligent Cloud and two points in More Personal Computing In our Consumer business Windows OEM and devices will see continued declines as the PC market returns to pre pandemic levels And LinkedIn and search will be impacted as ad market spending remains a bit cautious In our Commercial business we expect business trends that we saw at the end of December to continue into Q3 While customers are more cautious in their spend we also have the opportunity to improve our execution given our strong position in global growth markets In commercial bookings with a declining expiry base and the strong prior year comparable in terms of large Azure contracts we expect growth to be relatively flat over year We expect consistent execution across our core and sales motions and continued commitments to our platform will be offset by impact from the slowdown of new business noted earlier and three points of unfavorable impact from the inclusion of Nuance in the prior year Microsoft Cloud gross margin percentage should be up roughly one point year over year driven by the accounting estimate change noted earlier Excluding that impact Q3 cloud gross margin percentage will decrease roughly one point driven by Azure In capital expenditures we expect a sequential increase on a dollar basis with normal quarterly spend variability in the timing of our cloud infrastructure build out Our data center investments continue to be based on a near term and longer term customer demand including AI opportunities Next segment guidance In Productivity and Business Processes we expect revenue to grow between 11 and 13 in constant currency or 16 9 billion to 17 2 billion In Office Commercial revenue growth will again be driven by Office 365 with seat growth across customer segments and ARPU growth through E5 We expect Office 365 revenue growth to be sequentially lower by roughly one point on a constant currency basis In our on premises business we expect revenue to decline in the mid 20s In Office Consumer we expect revenue growth in the low single digits driven by Microsoft 365 subscriptions For LinkedIn we expect mid single digit revenue growth with continued strong engagement on the platform although impacted by the advertising trends noted earlier and the slowdown in hiring particularly in the technology industry where we have significant exposure And in Dynamics we expect revenue growth to be in the low to mid teens driven by continued growth in Dynamics 365 which is now over 80 of total Dynamics revenue For Intelligent Cloud we expect revenue to grow between 17 and 19 in constant currency or 21 7 billion to 22 billion Revenue will continue to be driven by Azure which as a reminder can have quarterly variability primarily from our per user business and from in period revenue recognition depending on the mix of contracts In Azure our per user business should continue to benefit from Microsoft 365 suite momentum though we expect continued moderation in growth rate given the size of the installed base As I noted earlier we exited Q2 with Azure growth in the mid 30s in constant currency And from that we expect Q3 growth to decelerate roughly four to five points in constant currency FX impact in Azure is about one point more than at the segment level In our on premises server business we expect revenue to decline low single digits as demand for our hybrid solutions will be more than offset by unfavorable FX impact And in Enterprise Services revenue should decline low to mid single digits driven by Microsoft Consulting Services In More Personal Computing we expect revenue of 11 9 billion to 12 3 billion Windows OEM revenue should decline in the mid to high 30s in line with the PC market We expect Q3 PC units to be similar to pre pandemic levels In devices revenues should decline in the mid 40s as we work through the execution challenges noted earlier In Windows Commercial products and cloud services on a strong prior year comparable revenue should be relatively flat as customer demand for Microsoft 365 and our advanced security solutions will be partially offset by the slowdown in new business noted earlier Search and news advertising ex TAC should grow high single digits roughly seven points faster than overall search and news advertising revenue driven by continued volume strength supported by Edge browser share gains and the inclusion of Xandr And in gaming on a prior year comparable that benefited from increased console supply we expect revenue to decline in the high single digits We expect Xbox content and services revenue to decline in the low single digits as growth in Xbox Game Pass subscriptions will be more than offset by lower monetization per hour and third party and first party content Now back to company guidance We expect COGS to grow between 1 and 2 in constant currency or to be between 15 65 billion and 15 85 billion and operating expense to grow between 11 and 12 at constant currency or be 14 7 billion to 14 8 billion Other income and expense should be roughly 200 million as interest income is expected to more than offset interest expense As a reminder we are required to recognize mark to market gains and losses on our equity portfolio which can increase quarterly volatility We expect our Q3 effective tax rate to be between 19 and 20 And finally as a reminder for Q3 cash flow we expect to make a 1 2 billion cash tax payment related to the TCJA capitalization of R amp D provision Now some thoughts on H2 and the full year First in our Commercial business revenue grew 20 on a constant currency basis in H1 However we now expect to see a deceleration in H2 given how we exited December Next higher energy costs for the full year are now expected to be 500 million compared to our previous estimate of 800 million Third as we continue to prioritize our investments and anniversary the Nuance and Xandr acquisitions our Q4 operating expense growth should be in the low single digits in constant currency Finally we remain committed to operational excellence aligning cost and growth investing in our customer success and leading the AI platform wave As a result when excluding the Q2 charge and favorable impact from the change in accounting estimate we expect full year operating margins to be down roughly one point in constant currency and roughly two points in USD even with the headwinds from materially lower OEM revenue and higher energy costs In the first half of the year over 70 of our revenue came from our Commercial business and over 70 of that from Microsoft Cloud We have a resilient foundation and durable growth markets where we are gaining share I m confident in the ability of our Microsoft team to manage the near term by continuing to position ourselves for the future With that let s go to Q amp A Brett Thanks Amy We ll now move over to the Q amp A Out of respect for others on the call we request that participants please only ask one question Joe can you please repeat your instructions Ladies and gentlemen at this time we will be conducting a question and answer session Operator instructions Our first question comes from the line of Keith Weiss with Morgan Stanley Please proceed Excellent Thank you guys for taking the question I was hoping we could delve into the expansion of the investment into OpenAI Satya I was hoping you could talk to us about is there any expansion in the scope of what you guys are doing with OpenAI and the commitment that you guys are making in terms of sort of the compute capacity you re going to be giving to them And then maybe as from an investor s perspective how should we think about when this functionality is going to become expand beyond just sort of the Azure OpenAI services And where are we going to start to see some of the positive impacts to perhaps Bing or the productivity suite or more broadly across the solution portfolio Thank you so much Keith for the question So as you know we started the OpenAI partnership now in three years three and a half years ago And we ve been actually working very hard on a lot of elements of this partnership over the last three years And so I think the way for our investors to see this is we fundamentally believe that the next big platform wave as I said is going to be AI and be strong We also believe a lot of the enterprise value gets created by just being able to catch these waves and then have those waves impact every part of our tech stack and also create new solutions and new opportunities So whenever we think about platform opportunities and platform shift opportunities that s how we come at it How can we essentially ride the wave for everything that we have today and make it more expansive and then what can be created So if you take that lens the core of Azure or what is considered cloud computing fundamentally changes in its nature and how compute storage and network come together That s in some sense under the radar if you will for the last three and a half four years we ve been working very very hard to build both the training supercomputers and now of course the inference infrastructure because once you use AI inside of your applications it goes from just being training heavy to inference So I think core Azure itself is being transformed for the core infrastructure business It s being transformed And so you can see us with data beyond Azure OpenAI services even think about what Synapse plus OpenAI APIs can do We already have Power Platform incorporated capability You could prompt a I mean one of the reasons why we are the leaders in robotic process automation and workflow automation today is because of some of the AI capabilities that we have in there GitHub Copilot is in fact you would say the most at scale LLM based product out there in the marketplace today And so we fully expect us to sort of incorporate AI in every layer of the stack whether it s in productivity whether it s in our consumer services And so we re excited about it But I think that we re also excited about OpenAI innovation right So they commercialize their products We re excited about the ChatGPT being built on Azure and having the traction it has So we look to both there s an investment part to it and there s a commercial partnership But fundamentally it s going to be something that s going to drive I think innovation and competitive differentiation in every one of the Microsoft solutions by leading in AI Outstanding Thank you guys Thanks Joe next question please Our next question comes from the line of Brent Thill with Jefferies Please proceed Thanks Satya can you give us your overall macro view There were some comments you had made that concerned I think many about the state of the U S spending environment I m just curious if you could comment and follow up on what you re seeing there just from a spend environment throughout the year I think many came away with that seeming that you were saying it s getting worse not better Can you just give us a little more color on that Thank you Thank you Brent and first of all I was making a comment which is sort of a global comment not just a specific U S comment I mean there is only I always sort of subscribe to that there s only one law of gravity that I think all of us are subject to which is inflation adjusted economic growth in the world And then how many times that do we grow Because as I said in my I fundamentally believe tech as a percentage of GDP is going to be much higher and on a secular basis So the question is how many times is it given the overall inflation adjusted economic growth So that s kind of how I look at it Given that I think the two things that we see we commented on that even in the last quarter and it s even in the outlook which is the thing that customers are doing is what they accelerated during the pandemic They are making sure that they re getting most value out of it or optimizing it And then also being a bit more cautious on given the macroeconomic headwinds out there in the market So given those two things the point is at some point the optimizations will end In fact the money that they save in any optimization of any workload is what they into workloads And those workloads will start ramping up And so one of the key things we are watching for Brent is to make sure that we are gaining share in this space through our value propositions and even build loyalty with our customers so that long term we are well positioned for share gains So that s sort of fundamentally how we view it And then the other aspect I d also say is simultaneously investing in this new AI trend because I don t think any application start that happens next is going to look like the application starts of 2019 or 2020 They re all going to have considerations around how is my AI inference performance cost model is going to look like And that s where we are well positioned again So that s how I view it The market you all are better readers of quite frankly what s happening out there We can tell you what we see What we see is optimization and some cautious approach to new workloads and that will cycle through but we do fundamentally believe on a long term basis as a percentage of GDP tech spend is going to go up Thanks Brent Joe next question please Our next question comes from the line of Mark Moerdler with Bernstein Please proceed Thank you very much I d like to follow up a little bit on this question relating to optimization I know we saw some slowing this quarter You re guiding to some slowing next quarter in Cloud and Azure How much of that is do you believe at this point is truly people optimizing what they ve already bought and stepping that before that versus how much of that is due to macro factors themselves specifically impacting demand I d say two things and then Amy please feel free to add One is it absolutely is starts with workloads that they have at scale just because of the visibility one has on what s driving essentially the consumption meters And there s real guidance that we ourselves in the product to say here are the things that you do optimize your billing And so that s sort of what is the fundamental thing When we say do more with less and how can we help that s sort of the first place customers go to And then the next piece really I think is going to be about how they take the optimization that they get and the savings they get workload and what new project starts And that s where I think there s a reprioritization When should we start the new projects Those are the two things that are happening simultaneously They don t perfectly match but one of the things is they re looking to back some savings on some workloads and then start So that s where I think a little bit of what has to happen is the cycle time where the optimization cycle finishes the projects start and then the projects ramp And I think that that s what at least on the cloud consumption side you re seeing And on the per user side it s slightly different which is in per user also there was real acceleration when it comes to purchases of per user licenses whether it is for knowledge workers or frontline workers And again they re all now making sure that they re all getting used and the usage is going up Like when we look at our Office 365 usage all those numbers are pretty up year over year in a substantial way Like I gave you some of the Teams numbers In fact one of the things was what will have Teams usage after the pandemic Guess what They re up And so those are the good news And now once we cycle through that again the seats will get added and premium like I m very very excited about Teams Pro coming out in a couple of weeks And those are all the things that people will be able to sort of use to ensure that the ARPUs are also going up a bit value And Mark because I do think it s actually quite hard to separate from a driver perspective how much is optimization versus macro It s all related when you start to say what s the best ROI I can get on every budget dollar I spend and our job as a partner to so many of these customers is to help them do that So Satya has talked a bit about Azure Let me talk a little bit about the per user where the way it showed itself is we had very high renewal rates and very good suite performance at renewal meaning what we tend to call internally recapture While we had some more challenges on maybe a stand alone sale of a new product where the cycle is going to be a little longer right and you re going to have to show that cost savings But the suite sale the value in that showed itself in terms of strong E5 You can see the ARPU growth and you can see the consistency potentially in both renewal rate and in frankly the Microsoft 365 performance Perfect Thank you very much Yeah Thanks Mark Joe next question please Our next question comes from the line of Kash Rangan with Goldman Sachs Please proceed Thank you very much Satya I m curious if you could talk about how long the cycle time for optimization lasts Are we talking a couple of quarters few quarters or multiple years Because I do take your comment about tech spending as a percentage of global GDP going higher So if that were to happen this how do you frame the duration of this optimization that s happening in the industry Thank you so much I mean you know I think that you can you have a workload you optimize the workload and you start a new workload So the thing that I would say is when you re done with optimizing a workload is when you are done with the cycle So I think if you sort of say when did we enter this we accelerated workloads during the pandemic over a period of two years So we are optimizing I don t think we re going to take two years to optimize but we re going to take this year to optimize And then as we optimize the new projects start and the new project starts don t start instantly at their peak usage They start and then they scale And so those are the two cycles that will happen where there will be a time lag Got it So it s a temporary adjustment before we start to get the full effect of the next set of workloads Good to get that That s correct That s correct Thanks Kash Joe next question please The next question comes from the line of Karl Keirstead with UBS Please proceed Thank you This one for Amy Amy given the obviously tough environment it sounds like reaching that full fiscal year 20 constant currency Commercial revs guide would be tough Is that also true for the soft guidance for 10 plus total revenue growth for the year And if I could just sneak in a clarification Amy just because it s an important metric When you talk about a four to five point decel in Azure that s off of the 38 reported for December right not off the 35 exit rate Thank you It s all Karl let me just the first half of your question give me a second On the second half of your question which is the guide off the exit rate it s off the exit rate on Azure of four to five points just to make sure that is clear In terms of thinking about total year revenue right I did not comment on full year revenue as we continue I think really just to watch the Windows PC market as it returns to pre pandemic levels Outside of that as you can see the trends are relatively consistent So in some points it s important because if you look at the operating income margin guidance that I talked about the fact that we are guiding to really only one point of margin deceleration for the year on a constant currency basis with probably over 2 billion of headwind from the OEM business from what we had anticipated heading into the year the focus on margins the focus on prioritization the focus on putting our investments into where we know they have high return I actually feel quite good about the place that puts us in as we exit the year in terms of and the right energy right or leaving the year in Q4 on leverage Got it Super helpful Thanks Amy Thanks Karl Joe next question please Our next question comes from the line of Brad Zelnick with Deutsche Bank Please proceed Great Thanks very much Amy I wanted to ask about the expense actions that you announced last week Obviously not a decision that you would take lightly How are you thinking about headcount for the remainder of the year and the possibility for further expense actions if necessary And what criteria do you consider in making these decisions Thanks Brad listen thanks for that question Obviously as we think about the Q4 guidance around low single digit operating expense growth we start to as you know sort of lap certain real acceleration points that we had last year And we lapped the acquisitions both of Nuance and of Xandr So by the time that we get to the end of Q4 you ll see very moderated headcount growth on a year over year basis in addition to some the prioritization decisions we ve made And you re right We take decisions like the one we had to make to get our cost structure more in line with revenue just incredibly seriously because we have lots of very talented people who were impacted by that And so I do think that we feel confident in that exit rate As I said it will certainly imply that year over year growth as we lap some of the investments that we ve made will be quite small Thanks for the color Thanks Brad Joe next question please Our next question comes from the line of Brad Reback with Stifel Please proceed Great Thanks very much On Office 365 Commercial with you guys approaching 400 million seats and the E5 business really starting to accelerate here on that consolidated sort of expense ROI that you re putting forth should we think about the growth there more evenly balanced between seats and ARPU going forward or still to continue to favor seats Thanks Yes That s a good question especially because this quarter you started to see a little bit more of that ARPU influence And as you might have gathered from your question and I ll just reinforce it as we see some of this moderating seat growth whether that s some of the new SKU weakness that we had talked about some of the stand alone stuff you re starting to also see E5 ARPU happen at the same time So it does create some stability in that Office 365 Commercial revenue number So we re seeing still good seat growth still growth across all workloads And as you re pointing out we re getting further into the E5 health where we ve seen I want to say four or five really good quarters of E5 adoption The value there is just very high for customers in this environment between analytics security and I think we ve given some I think good security data points in terms of adoption and voice This is a place where customers can save money by moving to this suite And I do think you re starting to see some of that ARPU help And we re also investing in outside of Microsoft 365 in other per user workloads We were a new suite Power Platform on its own and even stand alone offers like even Teams Pro and what have you So there s a significant amount of work we want to do besides sort of the suites that we all sort of have at scale Great Thank you very much Joe we have time for one last question Our next question comes from the line of Tyler Radke with Citi Please proceed Yes Thanks for taking the question I wanted to ask just about how your visibility has changed in terms of some of the larger Azure customer ramps Could you just comment on to the extent those large customer ramps or if any of those projects are getting put on pause And then is there any way to just kind of quantify the AI potential contribution or maybe GPU powered contribution that Azure that you re expecting over the coming quarters Thank you On the second piece I think it s too early to sort of start somehow separating out AI from the rest of the workload I mean even the workloads themselves AI is just going to be a core part of a workload in Azure versus just AI alone So in other words if you have an application that s using a bunch of inference let s say it s also going to have a bunch of storage and it s going to have a bunch of other compute beyond GPU inferencing if you will So I think over time obviously I think every app is going to be an AI app Ladies and gentlemen please stand by That wraps up the Q amp A portion of today s earnings call Thank you for joining us today and we look forward to speaking with all of you soon This article is a transcript of this conference call produced for The Motley Fool While we strive for our Foolish Best there may be errors omissions or inaccuracies in this transcript As with all our articles The Motley Fool does not assume any responsibility for your use of this content and we strongly encourage you to do your own research including listening to the call yourself and reading the company s SEC filings Please see our Terms and Conditions for additional details including our Obligatory Capitalized Disclaimers of Liability Average returns of all recommendations since inception Cost basis and return based on previous market day close Invest better with The Motley Fool Get stock recommendations portfolio guidance and more from The Motley Fool s premium services Credit https www fool com earnings call transcripts 2023 01 24 microsoft msft q2 2023 earnings call transcript
    Microsoft (MSFT) Q2 2023 Earnings Call Transcript
     Image source The Motley Fool Greetings and welcome to the Microsoft fiscal year 2023 second quarter earnings conference call At this time all participants are in a listen only mode A question and answer session will follow the formal presentation Operator instructions As a reminder this conference is being recorded I would now like to turn the conference over to your host Brett Iversen vice president investor relations Good afternoon and thank you for joining us today On the call with me are Satya Nadella chairman and chief executive officer Amy Hood chief financial officer Alice Jolla chief accounting officer and Keith Dolliver deputy general counsel On the Microsoft Investor Relations website you can find our earnings press release and financial summary slide deck which is intended to supplement our prepared remarks during today s call and provides the reconciliation of differences between GAAP and non GAAP financial measures On this call we will discuss certain non GAAP items The non GAAP financial measures provided should not be considered as a substitute for or superior to the measures of financial performance prepared in accordance with GAAP They are included as additional clarifying items to aid investors in further understanding the company s second quarter performance in addition to the impact these items and events have on the financial results All growth comparisons we make on the call today relate to the corresponding period of last year unless otherwise noted We will also provide growth rates in constant currency when available as a framework for assessing how our underlying businesses performed excluding the effect of foreign currency rate fluctuations They just revealed what they believe are the ten best stocks for investors to buy right now and Microsoft wasn t one of them That s right they think these 10 stocks are even better buys Where growth rates are the same in constant currency we ll refer to the growth rate only We will post our prepared remarks to our website immediately following the call until the complete transcript is available Today s call is being webcast live and recorded If you ask a question it will be included in our live transmission in the transcript and in any future use of the recording You can replay the call and view the transcript on the Microsoft Investor Relations website During this call we ll be making forward looking statements which are predictions projections or other statements about future events These statements are based on current expectations and assumptions that are subject to risks and uncertainties Actual results could materially differ because of factors discussed in today s earnings press release in the comments made during this conference call and in the Risk Factors section of our Form 10 K Forms 10 Q and other reports and filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission We do not undertake any duty to update any forward looking statement And with that I ll turn the call over to Satya Thank you very much Brett I want to start with the context I shared with our employees last week on the changing environment and our priorities As I meet with customers and partners a few things are increasingly clear Just as we saw customers accelerate their digital spend during the pandemic we are now seeing them optimize that spend Also organizations are exercising caution given the macroeconomic uncertainty And the next major wave of computing is being born as we turn the world s most advanced AI models into a new computing platform In this environment we remain convicted on three things This is an important time for Microsoft to work with our customers helping them realize more value from their tech spend and building long term loyalty and share position while internally aligning our own cost structure with our revenue growth This in turn sets us up to participate in the secular trend where digital spend as a percentage of GDP is only going to increase And lastly we re going to lead in the AI era knowing that maximum enterprise value gets created during platform shifts With that as a backdrop the Microsoft Cloud exceeded 27 billion in quarterly revenue up 22 and 29 in constant currency Now I ll highlight examples of our innovation starting with Azure Moving to the cloud is the best way for any customer in today s economy to mitigate demand uncertainty and energy costs while gaining efficiencies of cloud native development Enterprises have moved millions of cases to Azure and run twice as many calls on our cloud today than they did two years ago And yet we re still in the early innings when it comes to long term cloud opportunity As an example insurer AIA was able to save more than 20 by migrating to Azure and reduced IT provisioning time from multiple months to just an hour We also continue to lead with hybrid computing with Azure Arc We now have more than 12 000 Arc customers double the number a year ago including companies like Citrix Northern Trust and PayPal Now on to data Customers continue to choose and implement the Microsoft Intelligent Data Platform over the competition because of its comprehensiveness integration and lower cost Bayer for example used the data stack to evaluate results from clinical trials faster and more efficiently while meeting regulatory requirements and ASOS chose Cosmos DB to power real time product recommendations and order processing for over 26 million global customers Now on to AI The age of AI is upon us and Microsoft is powering it We are witnessing nonlinear improvements in capability of foundation models which we are making available as platforms And as customers select their cloud providers and invest in new workloads we are well positioned to capture that opportunity as a leader in AI We have the most powerful AI supercomputing infrastructure in the cloud It s being used by customers and partners like OpenAI to train state of the art models and services including ChatGPT Just last week we made our Azure OpenAI service broadly available and already over 200 customers from KPMG to Al Jazeera are using it We will soon add support for ChatGPT enabling customers to use it in their own applications for the first time And yesterday we announced the completion of the next phase of our agreement with OpenAI We are pleased to be their exclusive cloud provider and we ll deploy their models across our consumer and enterprise products as we continue to push the state of the art in AI All of this innovation is driving growth across our Azure AI services Azure ML revenue alone has increased more than 100 for five quarters in a row with companies like AXA FedEx and H amp R Block choosing the service to deploy manage and govern their models Now on to developers Modernizing applications is mission critical to any company s operations today And with GitHub Visual Studio and Azure Pass services we have the most comprehensive portfolio of tools to help GitHub is now home to 100 million developers and GitHub Copilot is the first at scale AI product built for this era fundamentally transforming developer productivity More than 1 million people have used Copilot to date This quarter we brought Copilot to businesses and we have seen strong interest and early adoption from companies including Duolingo Lemonade and Volkswagen CARIAD Software Group Now on to Power Platform Power Platform is becoming an essential digital transformation tool as every business looks to streamline their operations and drive productivity in today s environment We are helping customers realize superior time to value with our end to end suite spanning low code no code tools automation virtual agents and business intelligence We are leading in robotic process automation Power Automate has more than 45 000 customers from AT amp T to Rabobank up over 50 year over year And we are making it easier for anyone to streamline repetitive tasks introducing new AI powered features to turn natural language prompts into complex workflows Now on to business applications Dynamics 365 is taking share as we help businesses digitize their service finance customer experience and supply chain functions For example J amp J Pepsi Cola Bottlers is moving from reactive to predictive field service Fuji Films is optimizing its operations Investec is closing deals faster with conversational intelligence Baylor Scott amp White in Texas is using our digital contact center to enhance patient communications And this quarter we introduced our new supply chain platform helping customers like iFit and Kraft Heinz apply AI to predict and mitigate disruptions Now on to Industry Solutions Our industry and cross industry clouds are driving pull through for our entire tech stack Our cloud for retail was front and center at NRF last week as we introduced new tools to help retailers manage their day to day operations and digitize their physical stores Polish retailer Zabka has built the largest chain of autonomous stores in Europe with the help of our technology In Financial Services our new partnership with London Stock Exchange Group will deliver next generation of data analytics and workspace solutions And in healthcare we are rapidly becoming the partner of choice for any provider looking to generate real value from AI With Nuance DAX ambient intelligence solution physicians can reduce documentation time by half improving the quality of their patient interactions Now on to systems of work Microsoft 365 Teams and Viva are essential for every organization to adapt to the new world of work Microsoft 365 is rapidly evolving into an AI first platform that enables every individual to amplify their creativity and productivity with both our established applications as well as new applications like Designer Stream and Loop We have more than 63 million consumer subscribers up 12 year over year and we introduced Microsoft 365 Basic bringing our premium offerings to more people Teams surpassed 280 million monthly active users this quarter showing durable momentum since the pandemic and we continue to take share across every category from collaboration to chat to meetings to calling Teams has emerged as a first class platform Apps from Adobe Atlassian Poly ServiceNow and Workday have each surpassed 0 5 million active users and the number of third party apps with more than 10 000 users increased nearly 40 year over year There are more than 500 000 active Teams Rooms devices up 70 year over year and the number of customers with more than 1 000 rooms doubled year over year Novo Nordisk will deploy Teams Rooms to 5 000 meeting rooms globally in our largest deal to date Teams Phone continues to take share and is the market leader in cloud calling We have added more than 5 million PSTN seats over the last 12 months alone With Teams Premium we are meeting enterprise demand for advanced features like end to end encryption and AI powered recaps We have seen strong interest in preview and we will make it broadly available next month With Microsoft Viva we have created a new market category for employee experience and organizational productivity U S Bank is using Viva to streamline employee communications and Carlsberg turned to Viva to centralize its digital employee experience for 29 000 employees In today s environment aligning the entire organization and the most important work is critical Viva Goals brings objectives and key results directly into the flow of daily work Viva has also become an indispensable tool for business process Viva Sales is the super app in Microsoft 365 for sellers We have seen strong interest since making it generally available this quarter All up we continue to see organizations consolidate on Microsoft 365 80 of our enterprise customers use five or more Microsoft 365 applications And organizations across the private and public sector including EY IKEA NTT Communications Rio Tinto as well as the state government of Virginia are increasingly choosing our premium E5 offerings for advanced security compliance voice and analytics Now on to Windows While the number of PCs shipped declined during the quarter returning to pre pandemic levels usage intensity of Windows continues to be higher than pre pandemic with time spent per PC up nearly 10 Monthly active devices also reached an all time high this quarter And for commercial customers Windows 11 adoption continues to grow because of its differentiated security and productivity value proposition We re also seeing growth in cloud delivered Windows with usage of Windows 365 and Azure Virtual Desktop up by over two thirds year over year Leaders in every industry from Campari and Grant Thornton U K to Nutrien and Woolworths are using cloud delivered Windows including more than 60 of the Fortune 500 Now on to security Over the past 12 months our security business surpassed 20 billion in revenue as we help customers protect their digital estate across clouds and endpoint platforms We re the only company with integrated end to end tools spanning identity security compliance device management and privacy informed and trained on over 65 trillion signals each day We are taking share across all major categories we serve Customers are consolidating on our security stack in order to reduce risk complexity and cost The number of organizations with four or more workloads increased over 40 year over year U K retailer Fraser Group for example consolidated from 10 security vendors to just Microsoft Roku moved identity and access management to the cloud with Azure Active Directory And Estella Pharma Ferrovial and University of Toronto all switched to Microsoft Sentinel because of our integrated XDR and SIM capabilities Now on to LinkedIn People and companies continue to look to LinkedIn to connect learn sell and get hired We once again saw record engagement among our more than 900 million members Three members are signing up every second Over 80 of these members are from outside the United States And as the members come to the platform to find and share professional knowledge and expertise newsletter creation was up 10x year over year Skills are the new currency and people are increasingly investing in their skill building to keep up with their changing roles in industries We offer more than 20 000 courses in 11 languages and companies are also turning to a skills based approach in place of degree or pedigree to identify qualified talent with more than 45 of the hires on LinkedIn explicitly using skills data to fill their roles Finally LinkedIn Marketing Solutions continues to be a leader in B2B digital advertising helping companies deliver the right message to the right audience on a safe and trusted platform Now on to advertising Despite headwinds in the ad market we continue to innovate across our first and third party portfolios Our browser Microsoft Edge gained share for the seventh consecutive quarter Bing continues to gain share in the United States and daily users of our Start personalized content feed increased over 30 year over year We are now empowering retailers and expanding our third party inventory With PromoteIQ we are building a complete omnichannel media platform for companies like the Australian retailer Endeavor as well as Canada s Hudson s Bay and Global the largest Brazilian TV broadcasters chose Xandr to launch a new media buying platform in that market Now on to gaming In gaming we continue to pursue our ambition to give players more choice to play great games wherever whenever and however they want We saw new highs for Game Pass subscriptions game streaming hours and monthly active devices and monthly active users surpassed a record 120 million during the quarter We continue to invest to add value to Game Pass This quarter we partnered with Riot Games to make the company s PC and mobile games along with premium content available to subscribers And finally we are energized by our upcoming lineup of AAA game launches including exciting new titles from ZeniMax and Xbox Game Studios and we ll be sharing details in gameplay at our showcase tomorrow In closing I want to extend my deepest gratitude to our employees for their continued dedication to our mission customers and partners We will continue to pursue our long term opportunity and innovation agenda with urgency while also raising the bar on our operational excellence With that I ll hand it over to Amy Thank you Satya and good afternoon everyone I d like to start by reiterating Satya s thoughts on the changing environment and our priorities which underpin the decisions communicated in last week s announcement The resulting Q2 charge negatively impacted gross margin by 152 million operating income by 1 2 billion and earnings per share by 0 12 Our second quarter revenue was 52 7 billion up 2 and 7 in constant currency When adjusted for the charge gross margin dollars increased 2 and 8 in constant currency operating income decreased 3 and increased 6 in constant currency and earnings per share was 2 32 which decreased 6 and increased 2 in constant currency In our consumer business the PC market was in line with our expectations but execution challenges impacted our Surface business Advertising spend declined slightly more than expected which impacted search and news advertising and LinkedIn Marketing Solutions In our commercial business we delivered strong growth in line with our expectations However as you heard from Satya we are seeing customers exercise caution in this environment and we saw results weaken through December We saw moderated consumption growth in Azure and lower than expected growth in new business across the stand alone Office 365 EMS and Windows commercial products that are sold outside the Microsoft 365 suite From a geographic perspective we saw strong execution in many regions around the world However performance in the U S was weaker than expected Importantly we continued to see share gains in areas such as data and AI Dynamics Teams Security and Edge Commercial bookings increased 7 and 4 in constant currency lower than expected Consistent execution across our renewal sales motions including strong recapture rates and growth in Azure commitments on a high prior year comparable were partially offset by the slowdown in growth of new stand alone business noted earlier Commercial remaining performance obligation increased 29 to 26 in constant currency to 189 billion Roughly 45 will be recognized in revenue in the next 12 months up 24 year over year The remaining portion which will be recognized beyond the next 12 months increased 32 Our annuity mix increased two points year over year to 96 FX decreased total company revenue by five points in line with expectations At a segment level FX decreased Productivity and Business Processes revenue growth by six points one point favorable to expectations FX impact on Intelligent Cloud and More Personal Computing were both in line with expectations Additionally FX decreased both COGS and operating expense growth by two points one point unfavorable to expectations Microsoft Cloud revenue was 27 1 billion and grew 22 and 29 in constant currency ahead of expectations Microsoft Cloud gross margin percentage increased roughly two points year over year to 72 a point better than expected driven by lower energy costs Excluding the impact of the change in accounting estimate for useful lives Microsoft Cloud gross margin percentage decreased roughly one point primarily driven by sales mix shift to Azure Company gross margin percentage was 67 Excluding the impact of the change in accounting estimate gross margin percentage decreased roughly two points driven by a lower mix of Windows OEM revenue and sales mix shift from licensing to cloud Operating expense when adjusted for the Q2 charge increased 11 and 13 in constant currency about 500 million lower than expected Operating expense growth was driven by investments in cloud engineering the Nuance acquisition and LinkedIn At a total company level headcount ended December 19 higher than a year ago Sequential headcount growth was less than 1 Year over year growth included roughly six points from the Nuance and Xandr acquisitions which closed last Q3 and Q4 respectively Adjusted for the charge operating margins decreased roughly two points year over year to 41 Excluding the impact of the change in accounting estimate operating margins declined roughly four points primarily driven by unfavorable FX impact as well as a lower mix of OEM revenue Now to our segment results Revenue from Productivity and Business Processes was 17 billion and grew 7 and 13 in constant currency in line with expectations when excluding the favorable FX impact noted earlier Office Commercial revenue grew 7 and 14 in constant currency Office 365 Commercial revenue increased 11 and 18 in constant currency slightly better than expected with healthy renewal execution and ARPU growth as E5 momentum remains strong Paid Office 365 Commercial seats grew 12 year over year with installed base expansion across all workloads and customer segments Seat growth was driven by our small and medium business and frontline worker offerings although we saw some impact from the slowdown in growth of new business noted earlier Office Consumer revenue declined 2 and increased 3 in constant currency with continued momentum in Microsoft 365 subscriptions which grew 12 to 63 2 million partially offset by declines in our transactional business LinkedIn revenue increased 10 and 14 in constant currency driven by growth in Talent Solutions partially offset by weakness in Marketing Solutions from the advertising trends noted earlier Dynamics revenue grew 13 and 20 in constant currency driven by Dynamics 365 which grew 21 and 29 in constant currency Segment gross margin dollars increased 8 and 16 in constant currency and gross margin percentage increased roughly one point year over year Excluding the impact of the change in accounting estimate gross margin percentage decreased slightly driven by sales mix shift to cloud offerings Operating expense increased 12 and 14 in constant currency including roughly five points from the Q2 charge Operating income increased 6 and 17 in constant currency as the three points of favorable impact due to the change in accounting estimate were offset by three points of unfavorable impact from the Q2 charge noted earlier Next the Intelligent Cloud segment Revenue was 21 5 billion increasing 18 and 24 in constant currency in line with expectations Overall server products and cloud services revenue increased 20 and 26 in constant currency Azure and other cloud services revenue grew 31 and 38 in constant currency As noted earlier growth continued to moderate particularly in December and we exited the quarter with Azure constant currency growth in the mid 30s In our per user business the Enterprise Mobility and Security installed base grew 16 to over 241 million seats with impact from the slowdown in growth of new business noted earlier In our on premises server business revenue decreased 2 and increased 2 in constant currency with continued hybrid demand offset by weakness in transactional licensing Enterprise Services revenue grew 2 and 7 in constant currency Segment gross margin dollars increased 17 and 23 in constant currency and gross margin percentage decreased slightly Excluding the impact of the change in accounting estimate gross margin percentage declined roughly three points driven by sales mix shift to Azure and higher energy costs Operating expenses increased 34 and 37 in constant currency including roughly 13 points of impact from the Q2 charge noted earlier and roughly seven points of impact from the Nuance acquisition Operating income grew 7 and 15 in constant currency as roughly seven points of favorable impact of the change in accounting estimate was offset by approximately seven points of unfavorable impact from the Q2 charge Now to More Personal Computing Revenue was 14 2 billion decreasing 19 and 16 in constant currency below expectations driven by Surface Windows Commercial and search Windows OEM revenue decreased 39 year over year in line with expectations Excluding the impact from the Windows 11 deferral last year revenue declined 36 on a strong prior year comparable Devices revenue decreased 39 to 34 in constant currency below expectations due to execution challenges on new product launches Windows Commercial products and cloud services revenue declined 3 and increased 3 in constant currency lower than expected primarily due to the slowdown in growth of new business and stand alone offerings noted earlier Search and news advertising revenue ex TAC increased 10 and 15 in constant currency a bit lower than expected as noted earlier Our Edge browser gained more share than expected this quarter The Xandr acquisition contributed roughly six points of benefit And in gaming revenue declined 13 and 9 in constant currency in line with expectations Xbox hardware revenue declined 13 and 9 in constant currency Xbox content and services revenue declined 12 and 8 in constant currency given the strong first party content last year Segment gross margin dollars declined 29 and 24 in constant currency and gross margin percentage decreased roughly seven points year over year driven by lower device gross margin and sales mix shift to lower margin businesses Operating expenses increased 6 and 9 in constant currency including roughly six points of impact from the Q2 charge noted earlier and three points of impact from the Xandr acquisition Operating income decreased 47 and 40 in constant currency including roughly six points of unfavorable impact from the Q2 charge noted earlier Now back to total company results Capital expenditures including finance leases were 6 8 billion to support cloud demand Cash paid for PP amp E was 6 3 billion Cash flow from operations was 11 2 billion down 23 year over year as strong cloud billings and collections were more than offset by a tax payment related to the TCJA capitalization of R amp D provision as well as higher employee and supplier payments Free cash flow was 4 9 billion down 43 year over year Excluding the impact of this tax payment cash flow from operations declined 7 and free cash flow declined 16 This quarter other income and expense was negative 60 million lower than anticipated driven by a mark to market loss on a forward share purchase agreement Our effective tax rate was approximately 19 And finally we returned 9 7 billion to shareholders through share repurchases and dividends Now moving to our Q3 outlook which unless specifically noted otherwise is on a U S dollar basis My commentary for both the full year and next quarter does not include any impact from Activision which we continue to work toward closing in fiscal year 2023 subject to obtaining required regulatory approvals First FX Based on current rates we now expect FX to decrease total revenue growth by approximately three points COGS growth by one point and operating expense growth by two points Within the segments we anticipate roughly four points of negative impact on revenue growth in Productivity and Business Processes three points in Intelligent Cloud and two points in More Personal Computing In our Consumer business Windows OEM and devices will see continued declines as the PC market returns to pre pandemic levels And LinkedIn and search will be impacted as ad market spending remains a bit cautious In our Commercial business we expect business trends that we saw at the end of December to continue into Q3 While customers are more cautious in their spend we also have the opportunity to improve our execution given our strong position in global growth markets In commercial bookings with a declining expiry base and the strong prior year comparable in terms of large Azure contracts we expect growth to be relatively flat over year We expect consistent execution across our core and sales motions and continued commitments to our platform will be offset by impact from the slowdown of new business noted earlier and three points of unfavorable impact from the inclusion of Nuance in the prior year Microsoft Cloud gross margin percentage should be up roughly one point year over year driven by the accounting estimate change noted earlier Excluding that impact Q3 cloud gross margin percentage will decrease roughly one point driven by Azure In capital expenditures we expect a sequential increase on a dollar basis with normal quarterly spend variability in the timing of our cloud infrastructure build out Our data center investments continue to be based on a near term and longer term customer demand including AI opportunities Next segment guidance In Productivity and Business Processes we expect revenue to grow between 11 and 13 in constant currency or 16 9 billion to 17 2 billion In Office Commercial revenue growth will again be driven by Office 365 with seat growth across customer segments and ARPU growth through E5 We expect Office 365 revenue growth to be sequentially lower by roughly one point on a constant currency basis In our on premises business we expect revenue to decline in the mid 20s In Office Consumer we expect revenue growth in the low single digits driven by Microsoft 365 subscriptions For LinkedIn we expect mid single digit revenue growth with continued strong engagement on the platform although impacted by the advertising trends noted earlier and the slowdown in hiring particularly in the technology industry where we have significant exposure And in Dynamics we expect revenue growth to be in the low to mid teens driven by continued growth in Dynamics 365 which is now over 80 of total Dynamics revenue For Intelligent Cloud we expect revenue to grow between 17 and 19 in constant currency or 21 7 billion to 22 billion Revenue will continue to be driven by Azure which as a reminder can have quarterly variability primarily from our per user business and from in period revenue recognition depending on the mix of contracts In Azure our per user business should continue to benefit from Microsoft 365 suite momentum though we expect continued moderation in growth rate given the size of the installed base As I noted earlier we exited Q2 with Azure growth in the mid 30s in constant currency And from that we expect Q3 growth to decelerate roughly four to five points in constant currency FX impact in Azure is about one point more than at the segment level In our on premises server business we expect revenue to decline low single digits as demand for our hybrid solutions will be more than offset by unfavorable FX impact And in Enterprise Services revenue should decline low to mid single digits driven by Microsoft Consulting Services In More Personal Computing we expect revenue of 11 9 billion to 12 3 billion Windows OEM revenue should decline in the mid to high 30s in line with the PC market We expect Q3 PC units to be similar to pre pandemic levels In devices revenues should decline in the mid 40s as we work through the execution challenges noted earlier In Windows Commercial products and cloud services on a strong prior year comparable revenue should be relatively flat as customer demand for Microsoft 365 and our advanced security solutions will be partially offset by the slowdown in new business noted earlier Search and news advertising ex TAC should grow high single digits roughly seven points faster than overall search and news advertising revenue driven by continued volume strength supported by Edge browser share gains and the inclusion of Xandr And in gaming on a prior year comparable that benefited from increased console supply we expect revenue to decline in the high single digits We expect Xbox content and services revenue to decline in the low single digits as growth in Xbox Game Pass subscriptions will be more than offset by lower monetization per hour and third party and first party content Now back to company guidance We expect COGS to grow between 1 and 2 in constant currency or to be between 15 65 billion and 15 85 billion and operating expense to grow between 11 and 12 at constant currency or be 14 7 billion to 14 8 billion Other income and expense should be roughly 200 million as interest income is expected to more than offset interest expense As a reminder we are required to recognize mark to market gains and losses on our equity portfolio which can increase quarterly volatility We expect our Q3 effective tax rate to be between 19 and 20 And finally as a reminder for Q3 cash flow we expect to make a 1 2 billion cash tax payment related to the TCJA capitalization of R amp D provision Now some thoughts on H2 and the full year First in our Commercial business revenue grew 20 on a constant currency basis in H1 However we now expect to see a deceleration in H2 given how we exited December Next higher energy costs for the full year are now expected to be 500 million compared to our previous estimate of 800 million Third as we continue to prioritize our investments and anniversary the Nuance and Xandr acquisitions our Q4 operating expense growth should be in the low single digits in constant currency Finally we remain committed to operational excellence aligning cost and growth investing in our customer success and leading the AI platform wave As a result when excluding the Q2 charge and favorable impact from the change in accounting estimate we expect full year operating margins to be down roughly one point in constant currency and roughly two points in USD even with the headwinds from materially lower OEM revenue and higher energy costs In the first half of the year over 70 of our revenue came from our Commercial business and over 70 of that from Microsoft Cloud We have a resilient foundation and durable growth markets where we are gaining share I m confident in the ability of our Microsoft team to manage the near term by continuing to position ourselves for the future With that let s go to Q amp A Brett Thanks Amy We ll now move over to the Q amp A Out of respect for others on the call we request that participants please only ask one question Joe can you please repeat your instructions Ladies and gentlemen at this time we will be conducting a question and answer session Operator instructions Our first question comes from the line of Keith Weiss with Morgan Stanley Please proceed Excellent Thank you guys for taking the question I was hoping we could delve into the expansion of the investment into OpenAI Satya I was hoping you could talk to us about is there any expansion in the scope of what you guys are doing with OpenAI and the commitment that you guys are making in terms of sort of the compute capacity you re going to be giving to them And then maybe as from an investor s perspective how should we think about when this functionality is going to become expand beyond just sort of the Azure OpenAI services And where are we going to start to see some of the positive impacts to perhaps Bing or the productivity suite or more broadly across the solution portfolio Thank you so much Keith for the question So as you know we started the OpenAI partnership now in three years three and a half years ago And we ve been actually working very hard on a lot of elements of this partnership over the last three years And so I think the way for our investors to see this is we fundamentally believe that the next big platform wave as I said is going to be AI and be strong We also believe a lot of the enterprise value gets created by just being able to catch these waves and then have those waves impact every part of our tech stack and also create new solutions and new opportunities So whenever we think about platform opportunities and platform shift opportunities that s how we come at it How can we essentially ride the wave for everything that we have today and make it more expansive and then what can be created So if you take that lens the core of Azure or what is considered cloud computing fundamentally changes in its nature and how compute storage and network come together That s in some sense under the radar if you will for the last three and a half four years we ve been working very very hard to build both the training supercomputers and now of course the inference infrastructure because once you use AI inside of your applications it goes from just being training heavy to inference So I think core Azure itself is being transformed for the core infrastructure business It s being transformed And so you can see us with data beyond Azure OpenAI services even think about what Synapse plus OpenAI APIs can do We already have Power Platform incorporated capability You could prompt a I mean one of the reasons why we are the leaders in robotic process automation and workflow automation today is because of some of the AI capabilities that we have in there GitHub Copilot is in fact you would say the most at scale LLM based product out there in the marketplace today And so we fully expect us to sort of incorporate AI in every layer of the stack whether it s in productivity whether it s in our consumer services And so we re excited about it But I think that we re also excited about OpenAI innovation right So they commercialize their products We re excited about the ChatGPT being built on Azure and having the traction it has So we look to both there s an investment part to it and there s a commercial partnership But fundamentally it s going to be something that s going to drive I think innovation and competitive differentiation in every one of the Microsoft solutions by leading in AI Outstanding Thank you guys Thanks Joe next question please Our next question comes from the line of Brent Thill with Jefferies Please proceed Thanks Satya can you give us your overall macro view There were some comments you had made that concerned I think many about the state of the U S spending environment I m just curious if you could comment and follow up on what you re seeing there just from a spend environment throughout the year I think many came away with that seeming that you were saying it s getting worse not better Can you just give us a little more color on that Thank you Thank you Brent and first of all I was making a comment which is sort of a global comment not just a specific U S comment I mean there is only I always sort of subscribe to that there s only one law of gravity that I think all of us are subject to which is inflation adjusted economic growth in the world And then how many times that do we grow Because as I said in my I fundamentally believe tech as a percentage of GDP is going to be much higher and on a secular basis So the question is how many times is it given the overall inflation adjusted economic growth So that s kind of how I look at it Given that I think the two things that we see we commented on that even in the last quarter and it s even in the outlook which is the thing that customers are doing is what they accelerated during the pandemic They are making sure that they re getting most value out of it or optimizing it And then also being a bit more cautious on given the macroeconomic headwinds out there in the market So given those two things the point is at some point the optimizations will end In fact the money that they save in any optimization of any workload is what they into workloads And those workloads will start ramping up And so one of the key things we are watching for Brent is to make sure that we are gaining share in this space through our value propositions and even build loyalty with our customers so that long term we are well positioned for share gains So that s sort of fundamentally how we view it And then the other aspect I d also say is simultaneously investing in this new AI trend because I don t think any application start that happens next is going to look like the application starts of 2019 or 2020 They re all going to have considerations around how is my AI inference performance cost model is going to look like And that s where we are well positioned again So that s how I view it The market you all are better readers of quite frankly what s happening out there We can tell you what we see What we see is optimization and some cautious approach to new workloads and that will cycle through but we do fundamentally believe on a long term basis as a percentage of GDP tech spend is going to go up Thanks Brent Joe next question please Our next question comes from the line of Mark Moerdler with Bernstein Please proceed Thank you very much I d like to follow up a little bit on this question relating to optimization I know we saw some slowing this quarter You re guiding to some slowing next quarter in Cloud and Azure How much of that is do you believe at this point is truly people optimizing what they ve already bought and stepping that before that versus how much of that is due to macro factors themselves specifically impacting demand I d say two things and then Amy please feel free to add One is it absolutely is starts with workloads that they have at scale just because of the visibility one has on what s driving essentially the consumption meters And there s real guidance that we ourselves in the product to say here are the things that you do optimize your billing And so that s sort of what is the fundamental thing When we say do more with less and how can we help that s sort of the first place customers go to And then the next piece really I think is going to be about how they take the optimization that they get and the savings they get workload and what new project starts And that s where I think there s a reprioritization When should we start the new projects Those are the two things that are happening simultaneously They don t perfectly match but one of the things is they re looking to back some savings on some workloads and then start So that s where I think a little bit of what has to happen is the cycle time where the optimization cycle finishes the projects start and then the projects ramp And I think that that s what at least on the cloud consumption side you re seeing And on the per user side it s slightly different which is in per user also there was real acceleration when it comes to purchases of per user licenses whether it is for knowledge workers or frontline workers And again they re all now making sure that they re all getting used and the usage is going up Like when we look at our Office 365 usage all those numbers are pretty up year over year in a substantial way Like I gave you some of the Teams numbers In fact one of the things was what will have Teams usage after the pandemic Guess what They re up And so those are the good news And now once we cycle through that again the seats will get added and premium like I m very very excited about Teams Pro coming out in a couple of weeks And those are all the things that people will be able to sort of use to ensure that the ARPUs are also going up a bit value And Mark because I do think it s actually quite hard to separate from a driver perspective how much is optimization versus macro It s all related when you start to say what s the best ROI I can get on every budget dollar I spend and our job as a partner to so many of these customers is to help them do that So Satya has talked a bit about Azure Let me talk a little bit about the per user where the way it showed itself is we had very high renewal rates and very good suite performance at renewal meaning what we tend to call internally recapture While we had some more challenges on maybe a stand alone sale of a new product where the cycle is going to be a little longer right and you re going to have to show that cost savings But the suite sale the value in that showed itself in terms of strong E5 You can see the ARPU growth and you can see the consistency potentially in both renewal rate and in frankly the Microsoft 365 performance Perfect Thank you very much Yeah Thanks Mark Joe next question please Our next question comes from the line of Kash Rangan with Goldman Sachs Please proceed Thank you very much Satya I m curious if you could talk about how long the cycle time for optimization lasts Are we talking a couple of quarters few quarters or multiple years Because I do take your comment about tech spending as a percentage of global GDP going higher So if that were to happen this how do you frame the duration of this optimization that s happening in the industry Thank you so much I mean you know I think that you can you have a workload you optimize the workload and you start a new workload So the thing that I would say is when you re done with optimizing a workload is when you are done with the cycle So I think if you sort of say when did we enter this we accelerated workloads during the pandemic over a period of two years So we are optimizing I don t think we re going to take two years to optimize but we re going to take this year to optimize And then as we optimize the new projects start and the new project starts don t start instantly at their peak usage They start and then they scale And so those are the two cycles that will happen where there will be a time lag Got it So it s a temporary adjustment before we start to get the full effect of the next set of workloads Good to get that That s correct That s correct Thanks Kash Joe next question please The next question comes from the line of Karl Keirstead with UBS Please proceed Thank you This one for Amy Amy given the obviously tough environment it sounds like reaching that full fiscal year 20 constant currency Commercial revs guide would be tough Is that also true for the soft guidance for 10 plus total revenue growth for the year And if I could just sneak in a clarification Amy just because it s an important metric When you talk about a four to five point decel in Azure that s off of the 38 reported for December right not off the 35 exit rate Thank you It s all Karl let me just the first half of your question give me a second On the second half of your question which is the guide off the exit rate it s off the exit rate on Azure of four to five points just to make sure that is clear In terms of thinking about total year revenue right I did not comment on full year revenue as we continue I think really just to watch the Windows PC market as it returns to pre pandemic levels Outside of that as you can see the trends are relatively consistent So in some points it s important because if you look at the operating income margin guidance that I talked about the fact that we are guiding to really only one point of margin deceleration for the year on a constant currency basis with probably over 2 billion of headwind from the OEM business from what we had anticipated heading into the year the focus on margins the focus on prioritization the focus on putting our investments into where we know they have high return I actually feel quite good about the place that puts us in as we exit the year in terms of and the right energy right or leaving the year in Q4 on leverage Got it Super helpful Thanks Amy Thanks Karl Joe next question please Our next question comes from the line of Brad Zelnick with Deutsche Bank Please proceed Great Thanks very much Amy I wanted to ask about the expense actions that you announced last week Obviously not a decision that you would take lightly How are you thinking about headcount for the remainder of the year and the possibility for further expense actions if necessary And what criteria do you consider in making these decisions Thanks Brad listen thanks for that question Obviously as we think about the Q4 guidance around low single digit operating expense growth we start to as you know sort of lap certain real acceleration points that we had last year And we lapped the acquisitions both of Nuance and of Xandr So by the time that we get to the end of Q4 you ll see very moderated headcount growth on a year over year basis in addition to some the prioritization decisions we ve made And you re right We take decisions like the one we had to make to get our cost structure more in line with revenue just incredibly seriously because we have lots of very talented people who were impacted by that And so I do think that we feel confident in that exit rate As I said it will certainly imply that year over year growth as we lap some of the investments that we ve made will be quite small Thanks for the color Thanks Brad Joe next question please Our next question comes from the line of Brad Reback with Stifel Please proceed Great Thanks very much On Office 365 Commercial with you guys approaching 400 million seats and the E5 business really starting to accelerate here on that consolidated sort of expense ROI that you re putting forth should we think about the growth there more evenly balanced between seats and ARPU going forward or still to continue to favor seats Thanks Yes That s a good question especially because this quarter you started to see a little bit more of that ARPU influence And as you might have gathered from your question and I ll just reinforce it as we see some of this moderating seat growth whether that s some of the new SKU weakness that we had talked about some of the stand alone stuff you re starting to also see E5 ARPU happen at the same time So it does create some stability in that Office 365 Commercial revenue number So we re seeing still good seat growth still growth across all workloads And as you re pointing out we re getting further into the E5 health where we ve seen I want to say four or five really good quarters of E5 adoption The value there is just very high for customers in this environment between analytics security and I think we ve given some I think good security data points in terms of adoption and voice This is a place where customers can save money by moving to this suite And I do think you re starting to see some of that ARPU help And we re also investing in outside of Microsoft 365 in other per user workloads We were a new suite Power Platform on its own and even stand alone offers like even Teams Pro and what have you So there s a significant amount of work we want to do besides sort of the suites that we all sort of have at scale Great Thank you very much Joe we have time for one last question Our next question comes from the line of Tyler Radke with Citi Please proceed Yes Thanks for taking the question I wanted to ask just about how your visibility has changed in terms of some of the larger Azure customer ramps Could you just comment on to the extent those large customer ramps or if any of those projects are getting put on pause And then is there any way to just kind of quantify the AI potential contribution or maybe GPU powered contribution that Azure that you re expecting over the coming quarters Thank you On the second piece I think it s too early to sort of start somehow separating out AI from the rest of the workload I mean even the workloads themselves AI is just going to be a core part of a workload in Azure versus just AI alone So in other words if you have an application that s using a bunch of inference let s say it s also going to have a bunch of storage and it s going to have a bunch of other compute beyond GPU inferencing if you will So I think over time obviously I think every app is going to be an AI app Ladies and gentlemen please stand by That wraps up the Q amp A portion of today s earnings call Thank you for joining us today and we look forward to speaking with all of you soon This article is a transcript of this conference call produced for The Motley Fool While we strive for our Foolish Best there may be errors omissions or inaccuracies in this transcript As with all our articles The Motley Fool does not assume any responsibility for your use of this content and we 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    Microsoft (MSFT) Q2 2023 Earnings Call Transcript
    General news5 days ago

    Microsoft (MSFT) Q2 2023 Earnings Call Transcript

    Image source: The Motley Fool.

    Greetings, and welcome to the Microsoft fiscal year 2023 second quarter earnings conference call. At this time, all participants are in a listen-only mode. A question-and-answer session will follow the formal presentation. [Operator instructions] As a reminder, this conference is being recorded.

    I would now like to turn the conference over to your host, Brett Iversen, vice president, investor relations.

    Good afternoon, and thank you for joining us today. On the call with me are Satya Nadella, chairman and chief executive officer; Amy Hood, chief financial officer; Alice Jolla, chief accounting officer; and Keith Dolliver, deputy general counsel. On the Microsoft Investor Relations website, you can find our earnings press release and financial summary slide deck, which is intended to supplement our prepared remarks during today's call and provides the reconciliation of differences between GAAP and non-GAAP financial measures. On this call, we will discuss certain non-GAAP items.

    The non-GAAP financial measures provided should not be considered as a substitute for or superior to the measures of financial performance prepared in accordance with GAAP. They are included as additional clarifying items to aid investors in further understanding the company's second-quarter performance in addition to the impact these items and events have on the financial results. All growth comparisons we make on the call today relate to the corresponding period of last year unless otherwise noted. We will also provide growth rates in constant currency when available as a framework for assessing how our underlying businesses performed, excluding the effect of foreign currency rate fluctuations.

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    Where growth rates are the same in constant currency, we'll refer to the growth rate only. We will post our prepared remarks to our website immediately following the call until the complete transcript is available. Today's call is being webcast live and recorded. If you ask a question, it will be included in our live transmission, in the transcript, and in any future use of the recording.

    You can replay the call and view the transcript on the Microsoft Investor Relations website. During this call, we'll be making forward-looking statements, which are predictions, projections, or other statements about future events. These statements are based on current expectations and assumptions that are subject to risks and uncertainties. Actual results could materially differ because of factors discussed in today's earnings press release, in the comments made during this conference call, and in the Risk Factors section of our Form 10-K, Forms 10-Q, and other reports and filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

    We do not undertake any duty to update any forward-looking statement. And with that, I'll turn the call over to Satya.

    Thank you very much, Brett. I want to start with the context I shared with our employees last week on the changing environment and our priorities. As I meet with customers and partners, a few things are increasingly clear. Just as we saw customers accelerate their digital spend during the pandemic, we are now seeing them optimize that spend.

    Also, organizations are exercising caution given the macroeconomic uncertainty. And the next major wave of computing is being born as we turn the world's most advanced AI models into a new computing platform. In this environment, we remain convicted on three things. This is an important time for Microsoft to work with our customers, helping them realize more value from their tech spend and building long-term loyalty and share position while internally aligning our own cost structure with our revenue growth.

    This, in turn, sets us up to participate in the secular trend where digital spend as a percentage of GDP is only going to increase. And lastly, we're going to lead in the AI era, knowing that maximum enterprise value gets created during platform shifts. With that as a backdrop, the Microsoft Cloud exceeded $27 billion in quarterly revenue, up 22% and 29% in constant currency. Now I'll highlight examples of our innovation starting with Azure.

    Moving to the cloud is the best way for any customer in today's economy to mitigate demand uncertainty and energy costs while gaining efficiencies of cloud-native development. Enterprises have moved millions of cases to Azure and run twice as many calls on our cloud today than they did two years ago. And yet, we're still in the early innings when it comes to long-term cloud opportunity. As an example, insurer AIA was able to save more than 20% by migrating to Azure and reduced IT provisioning time from multiple months to just an hour.

    We also continue to lead with hybrid computing with Azure Arc. We now have more than 12,000 Arc customers, double the number a year ago, including companies like Citrix, Northern Trust, and PayPal. Now on to data. Customers continue to choose and implement the Microsoft Intelligent Data Platform over the competition because of its comprehensiveness, integration, and lower cost.

    Bayer, for example, used the data stack to evaluate results from clinical trials faster and more efficiently while meeting regulatory requirements, and ASOS chose Cosmos DB to power real-time product recommendations and order processing for over 26 million global customers. Now, on to AI. The age of AI is upon us and Microsoft is powering it. We are witnessing nonlinear improvements in capability of foundation models, which we are making available as platforms.

    And as customers select their cloud providers and invest in new workloads, we are well-positioned to capture that opportunity as a leader in AI. We have the most powerful AI supercomputing infrastructure in the cloud. It's being used by customers and partners like OpenAI to train state-of-the-art models and services, including ChatGPT. Just last week, we made our Azure OpenAI service broadly available, and already over 200 customers from KPMG to Al Jazeera are using it.

    We will soon add support for ChatGPT, enabling customers to use it in their own applications for the first time. And yesterday, we announced the completion of the next phase of our agreement with OpenAI. We are pleased to be their exclusive cloud provider, and we'll deploy their models across our consumer and enterprise products as we continue to push the state-of-the-art in AI. All of this innovation is driving growth across our Azure AI services.

    Azure ML revenue alone has increased more than 100% for five quarters in a row with companies like AXA, FedEx, and H&R Block choosing the service to deploy, manage and govern their models. Now, on to developers. Modernizing applications is mission-critical to any company's operations today. And with GitHub, Visual Studio, and Azure Pass services, we have the most comprehensive portfolio of tools to help.

    GitHub is now home to 100 million developers and GitHub Copilot is the first at-scale AI product built for this era, fundamentally transforming developer productivity. More than 1 million people have used Copilot to date. This quarter, we brought Copilot to businesses, and we have seen strong interest and early adoption from companies, including Duolingo, Lemonade, and Volkswagen CARIAD Software Group. Now, on to Power Platform.

    Power Platform is becoming an essential digital transformation tool as every business looks to streamline their operations and drive productivity in today's environment. We are helping customers realize superior time to value with our end-to-end suite spanning low-code, no-code tools, automation, virtual agents, and business intelligence. We are leading in robotic process automation. Power Automate has more than 45,000 customers from AT&T to Rabobank, up over 50% year over year.

    And we are making it easier for anyone to streamline repetitive tasks, introducing new AI-powered features to turn natural language prompts into complex workflows. Now, on to business applications. Dynamics 365 is taking share as we help businesses digitize their service, finance, customer experience, and supply chain functions. For example, J&J, Pepsi-Cola Bottlers is moving from reactive to predictive field service.

    Fuji Films is optimizing its operations. Investec is closing deals faster with conversational intelligence. Baylor Scott & White in Texas is using our digital contact center to enhance patient communications. And this quarter, we introduced our new supply chain platform, helping customers like iFit and Kraft Heinz apply AI to predict and mitigate disruptions.

    Now, on to Industry Solutions. Our industry and cross-industry clouds are driving pull-through for our entire tech stack. Our cloud for retail was front and center at NRF last week as we introduced new tools to help retailers manage their day-to-day operations and digitize their physical stores. Polish retailer Zabka has built the largest chain of autonomous stores in Europe with the help of our technology.

    In Financial Services, our new partnership with London Stock Exchange Group will deliver next generation of data analytics and workspace solutions. And in healthcare, we are rapidly becoming the partner of choice for any provider looking to generate real value from AI. With Nuance DAX ambient intelligence solution, physicians can reduce documentation time by half, improving the quality of their patient interactions. Now, on to systems of work.

    Microsoft 365, Teams, and Viva are essential for every organization to adapt to the new world of work. Microsoft 365 is rapidly evolving into an AI-first platform that enables every individual to amplify their creativity and productivity with both our established applications, as well as new applications like Designer, Stream, and Loop. We have more than 63 million consumer subscribers, up 12% year over year, and we introduced Microsoft 365 Basic, bringing our premium offerings to more people. Teams surpassed 280 million monthly active users this quarter, showing durable momentum since the pandemic, and we continue to take share across every category from collaboration to chat to meetings to calling.

    Teams has emerged as a first-class platform. Apps from Adobe, Atlassian, Poly, ServiceNow, and Workday have each surpassed 0.5 million active users, and the number of third-party apps with more than 10,000 users increased nearly 40% year over year. There are more than 500,000 active Teams Rooms devices, up 70% year over year, and the number of customers with more than 1,000 rooms doubled year over year. Novo Nordisk will deploy Teams Rooms to 5,000 meeting rooms globally in our largest deal to date.

    Teams Phone continues to take share and is the market leader in cloud calling. We have added more than 5 million PSTN seats over the last 12 months alone. With Teams Premium, we are meeting enterprise demand for advanced features like end-to-end encryption and AI-powered recaps. We have seen strong interest in preview, and we will make it broadly available next month.

    With Microsoft Viva, we have created a new market category for employee experience and organizational productivity. U.S. Bank is using Viva to streamline employee communications, and Carlsberg turned to Viva to centralize its digital employee experience for 29,000 employees. In today's environment, aligning the entire organization and the most important work is critical.

    Viva Goals brings objectives and key results directly into the flow of daily work. Viva has also become an indispensable tool for business process. Viva Sales is the super app in Microsoft 365 for sellers. We have seen strong interest since making it generally available this quarter.

    All up, we continue to see organizations consolidate on Microsoft 365. 80% of our enterprise customers use five or more Microsoft 365 applications. And organizations across the private and public sector, including EY, IKEA, NTT Communications, Rio Tinto, as well as the state government of Virginia are increasingly choosing our premium E5 offerings for advanced security, compliance, voice, and analytics. Now, on to Windows.

    While the number of PCs shipped declined during the quarter, returning to pre-pandemic levels, usage intensity of Windows continues to be higher than pre pandemic with time spent per PC up nearly 10%. Monthly active devices also reached an all-time high this quarter. And for commercial customers, Windows 11 adoption continues to grow because of its differentiated security and productivity value proposition. We're also seeing growth in cloud-delivered Windows with usage of Windows 365 and Azure Virtual Desktop up by over two-thirds year over year.

    Leaders in every industry from Campari and Grant Thornton U.K. to Nutrien and Woolworths are using cloud-delivered Windows, including more than 60% of the Fortune 500. Now, on to security. Over the past 12 months, our security business surpassed $20 billion in revenue as we help customers protect their digital estate across clouds and endpoint platforms.

    We're the only company with integrated end-to-end tools spanning identity, security, compliance, device management, and privacy informed and trained on over 65 trillion signals each day. We are taking share across all major categories we serve. Customers are consolidating on our security stack in order to reduce risk, complexity, and cost. The number of organizations with four or more workloads increased over 40% year over year.

    U.K. retailer Fraser Group, for example, consolidated from 10 security vendors to just Microsoft. Roku moved identity and access management to the cloud with Azure Active Directory. And Estella Pharma, Ferrovial, and University of Toronto all switched to Microsoft Sentinel because of our integrated XDR and SIM capabilities.

    Now, on to LinkedIn. People and companies continue to look to LinkedIn to connect, learn, sell, and get hired. We once again saw record engagement among our more than 900 million members. Three members are signing up every second.

    Over 80% of these members are from outside the United States. And as the members come to the platform to find and share professional knowledge and expertise, newsletter creation was up 10x year over year. Skills are the new currency and people are increasingly investing in their skill-building to keep up with their changing roles in industries. We offer more than 20,000 courses in 11 languages, and companies are also turning to a skills-based approach in place of degree or pedigree to identify qualified talent, with more than 45% of the hires on LinkedIn explicitly using skills data to fill their roles.

    Finally, LinkedIn Marketing Solutions continues to be a leader in B2B digital advertising, helping companies deliver the right message to the right audience on a safe and trusted platform. Now, on to advertising. Despite headwinds in the ad market, we continue to innovate across our first- and third-party portfolios. Our browser, Microsoft Edge gained share for the seventh consecutive quarter.

    Bing continues to gain share in the United States, and daily users of our Start personalized content feed increased over 30% year over year. We are now empowering retailers and expanding our third-party inventory. With PromoteIQ, we are building a complete omnichannel media platform for companies like the Australian retailer, Endeavor, as well as Canada's Hudson's Bay and Global, the largest Brazilian TV broadcasters chose Xandr to launch a new media buying platform in that market. Now, on to gaming.

    In gaming, we continue to pursue our ambition to give players more choice to play great games wherever, whenever, and however they want. We saw new highs for Game Pass subscriptions, game streaming hours, and monthly active devices, and monthly active users surpassed a record 120 million during the quarter. We continue to invest to add value to Game Pass. This quarter, we partnered with Riot Games to make the company's PC and mobile games, along with premium content available to subscribers.

    And finally, we are energized by our upcoming lineup of AAA game launches, including exciting new titles from ZeniMax and Xbox Game Studios, and we'll be sharing details in gameplay at our showcase tomorrow. In closing, I want to extend my deepest gratitude to our employees for their continued dedication to our mission, customers, and partners. We will continue to pursue our long-term opportunity and innovation agenda with urgency while also raising the bar on our operational excellence. With that, I'll hand it over to Amy.

    Thank you, Satya, and good afternoon, everyone. I'd like to start by reiterating Satya's thoughts on the changing environment and our priorities, which underpin the decisions communicated in last week's announcement. The resulting Q2 charge negatively impacted gross margin by $152 million, operating income by $1.2 billion, and earnings per share by $0.12. Our second quarter revenue was $52.7 billion, up 2% and 7% in constant currency.

    When adjusted for the charge, gross margin dollars increased 2% and 8% in constant currency, operating income decreased 3% and increased 6% in constant currency, and earnings per share was $2.32, which decreased 6% and increased 2% in constant currency. In our consumer business, the PC market was in line with our expectations, but execution challenges impacted our Surface business. Advertising spend declined slightly more than expected, which impacted search and news advertising and LinkedIn Marketing Solutions. In our commercial business, we delivered strong growth in line with our expectations.

    However, as you heard from Satya, we are seeing customers exercise caution in this environment, and we saw results weaken through December. We saw moderated consumption growth in Azure and lower-than-expected growth in new business across the stand-alone Office 365, EMS, and Windows commercial products that are sold outside the Microsoft 365 suite. From a geographic perspective, we saw strong execution in many regions around the world. However, performance in the U.S.

    was weaker than expected. Importantly, we continued to see share gains in areas such as data and AI, Dynamics, Teams, Security, and Edge. Commercial bookings increased 7% and 4% in constant currency, lower than expected. Consistent execution across our renewal sales motions, including strong recapture rates, and growth in Azure commitments on a high prior-year comparable were partially offset by the slowdown in growth of new stand-alone business noted earlier.

    Commercial remaining performance obligation increased 29% to 26% in constant currency to $189 billion. Roughly 45% will be recognized in revenue in the next 12 months, up 24% year over year. The remaining portion, which will be recognized beyond the next 12 months, increased 32%. Our annuity mix increased two points year over year to 96%.

    FX decreased total company revenue by five points, in line with expectations. At a segment level, FX decreased Productivity and Business Processes revenue growth by six points, one point favorable to expectations. FX impact on Intelligent Cloud and More Personal Computing were both in line with expectations. Additionally, FX decreased both COGS and operating expense growth by two points, one point unfavorable to expectations.

    Microsoft Cloud revenue was $27.1 billion and grew 22% and 29% in constant currency, ahead of expectations. Microsoft Cloud gross margin percentage increased roughly two points year over year to 72%, a point better than expected, driven by lower energy costs. Excluding the impact of the change in accounting estimate for useful lives, Microsoft Cloud gross margin percentage decreased roughly one point, primarily driven by sales mix shift to Azure. Company gross margin percentage was 67%.

    Excluding the impact of the change in accounting estimate, gross margin percentage decreased roughly two points, driven by a lower mix of Windows OEM revenue and sales mix shift from licensing to cloud. Operating expense when adjusted for the Q2 charge increased 11% and 13% in constant currency, about $500 million lower than expected. Operating expense growth was driven by investments in cloud engineering, the Nuance acquisition, and LinkedIn. At a total company level, headcount ended December 19% higher than a year ago.

    Sequential headcount growth was less than 1%. Year-over-year growth included roughly six points from the Nuance and Xandr acquisitions, which closed last Q3 and Q4, respectively. Adjusted for the charge, operating margins decreased roughly two points year over year to 41%. Excluding the impact of the change in accounting estimate, operating margins declined roughly four points, primarily driven by unfavorable FX impact, as well as a lower mix of OEM revenue.

    Now, to our segment results. Revenue from Productivity and Business Processes was $17 billion and grew 7% and 13% in constant currency, in line with expectations when excluding the favorable FX impact noted earlier. Office Commercial revenue grew 7% and 14% in constant currency. Office 365 Commercial revenue increased 11% and 18% in constant currency, slightly better than expected with healthy renewal execution and ARPU growth as E5 momentum remains strong.

    Paid Office 365 Commercial seats grew 12% year over year with installed base expansion across all workloads and customer segments. Seat growth was driven by our small and medium business and frontline worker offerings, although we saw some impact from the slowdown in growth of new business noted earlier. Office Consumer revenue declined 2% and increased 3% in constant currency, with continued momentum in Microsoft 365 subscriptions, which grew 12% to 63.2 million, partially offset by declines in our transactional business. LinkedIn revenue increased 10% and 14% in constant currency, driven by growth in Talent Solutions, partially offset by weakness in Marketing Solutions from the advertising trends noted earlier.

    Dynamics revenue grew 13% and 20% in constant currency, driven by Dynamics 365, which grew 21% and 29% in constant currency. Segment gross margin dollars increased 8% and 16% in constant currency, and gross margin percentage increased roughly one point year over year. Excluding the impact of the change in accounting estimate, gross margin percentage decreased slightly, driven by sales mix shift to cloud offerings. Operating expense increased 12% and 14% in constant currency, including roughly five points from the Q2 charge.

    Operating income increased 6% and 17% in constant currency as the three points of favorable impact due to the change in accounting estimate were offset by three points of unfavorable impact from the Q2 charge noted earlier. Next, the Intelligent Cloud segment. Revenue was $21.5 billion, increasing 18% and 24% in constant currency, in line with expectations. Overall, server products and cloud services revenue increased 20% and 26% in constant currency.

    Azure and other cloud services revenue grew 31% and 38% in constant currency. As noted earlier, growth continued to moderate, particularly in December, and we exited the quarter with Azure constant-currency growth in the mid-30s. In our per-user business, the Enterprise Mobility and Security installed base grew 16% to over 241 million seats with impact from the slowdown in growth of new business noted earlier. In our on-premises server business, revenue decreased 2% and increased 2% in constant currency, with continued hybrid demand offset by weakness in transactional licensing.

    Enterprise Services revenue grew 2% and 7% in constant currency. Segment gross margin dollars increased 17% and 23% in constant currency, and gross margin percentage decreased slightly. Excluding the impact of the change in accounting estimate, gross margin percentage declined roughly three points, driven by sales mix shift to Azure and higher energy costs. Operating expenses increased 34% and 37% in constant currency, including roughly 13 points of impact from the Q2 charge noted earlier and roughly seven points of impact from the Nuance acquisition.

    Operating income grew 7% and 15% in constant currency as roughly seven points of favorable impact of the change in accounting estimate was offset by approximately seven points of unfavorable impact from the Q2 charge. Now, to More Personal Computing. Revenue was $14.2 billion, decreasing 19% and 16% in constant currency, below expectations driven by Surface, Windows Commercial, and search. Windows OEM revenue decreased 39% year over year, in line with expectations.

    Excluding the impact from the Windows 11 deferral last year, revenue declined 36% on a strong prior-year comparable. Devices revenue decreased 39% to 34% in constant currency, below expectations due to execution challenges on new product launches. Windows Commercial products and cloud services revenue declined 3% and increased 3% in constant currency, lower than expected, primarily due to the slowdown in growth of new business and stand-alone offerings noted earlier. Search and news advertising revenue ex TAC increased 10% and 15% in constant currency, a bit lower than expected, as noted earlier.

    Our Edge browser gained more share than expected this quarter. The Xandr acquisition contributed roughly six points of benefit. And in gaming, revenue declined 13% and 9% in constant currency, in line with expectations. Xbox hardware revenue declined 13% and 9% in constant currency.

    Xbox content and services revenue declined 12% and 8% in constant currency, given the strong first-party content last year. Segment gross margin dollars declined 29% and 24% in constant currency, and gross margin percentage decreased roughly seven points year over year, driven by lower device gross margin and sales mix shift to lower-margin businesses. Operating expenses increased 6% and 9% in constant currency, including roughly six points of impact from the Q2 charge noted earlier and three points of impact from the Xandr acquisition. Operating income decreased 47% and 40% in constant currency, including roughly six points of unfavorable impact from the Q2 charge noted earlier.

    Now back to total company results. Capital expenditures, including finance leases, were $6.8 billion to support cloud demand. Cash paid for PP&E was $6.3 billion. Cash flow from operations was $11.2 billion, down 23% year over year as strong cloud billings and collections were more than offset by a tax payment related to the TCJA capitalization of R&D provision, as well as higher employee and supplier payments.

    Free cash flow was $4.9 billion, down 43% year over year. Excluding the impact of this tax payment, cash flow from operations declined 7% and free cash flow declined 16%. This quarter, other income and expense was negative $60 million, lower than anticipated, driven by a mark-to-market loss on a forward share purchase agreement. Our effective tax rate was approximately 19%.

    And finally, we returned $9.7 billion to shareholders through share repurchases and dividends. Now, moving to our Q3 outlook, which, unless specifically noted otherwise, is on a U.S. dollar basis. My commentary for both the full year and next quarter does not include any impact from Activision, which we continue to work toward closing in fiscal year 2023, subject to obtaining required regulatory approvals.

    First, FX. Based on current rates, we now expect FX to decrease total revenue growth by approximately three points, COGS growth by one point, and operating expense growth by two points. Within the segments, we anticipate roughly four points of negative impact on revenue growth in Productivity and Business Processes, three points in Intelligent Cloud, and two points in More Personal Computing. In our Consumer business, Windows OEM and devices will see continued declines as the PC market returns to pre-pandemic levels.

    And LinkedIn and search will be impacted as ad market spending remains a bit cautious. In our Commercial business, we expect business trends that we saw at the end of December to continue into Q3. While customers are more cautious in their spend, we also have the opportunity to improve our execution, given our strong position in global growth markets. In commercial bookings, with a declining expiry base and the strong prior-year comparable in terms of large Azure contracts, we expect growth to be relatively flat over year.

    We expect consistent execution across our core and sales motions and continued commitments to our platform will be offset by impact from the slowdown of new business noted earlier and three points of unfavorable impact from the inclusion of Nuance in the prior year. Microsoft Cloud gross margin percentage should be up roughly one point year over year, driven by the accounting estimate change noted earlier. Excluding that impact, Q3 cloud gross margin percentage will decrease roughly one point, driven by Azure. In capital expenditures, we expect a sequential increase on a dollar basis with normal quarterly spend variability in the timing of our cloud infrastructure build-out.

    Our data center investments continue to be based on a near-term and longer-term customer demand, including AI opportunities. Next, segment guidance. In Productivity and Business Processes, we expect revenue to grow between 11% and 13% in constant currency, or $16.9 billion to $17.2 billion. In Office Commercial, revenue growth will again be driven by Office 365 with seat growth across customer segments and ARPU growth through E5.

    We expect Office 365 revenue growth to be sequentially lower by roughly one point on a constant-currency basis. In our on-premises business, we expect revenue to decline in the mid-20s. In Office Consumer, we expect revenue growth in the low single digits, driven by Microsoft 365 subscriptions. For LinkedIn, we expect mid-single-digit revenue growth with continued strong engagement on the platform, although impacted by the advertising trends noted earlier and the slowdown in hiring, particularly in the technology industry, where we have significant exposure.

    And in Dynamics, we expect revenue growth to be in the low to mid-teens, driven by continued growth in Dynamics 365, which is now over 80% of total Dynamics revenue. For Intelligent Cloud, we expect revenue to grow between 17% and 19% in constant currency or $21.7 billion to $22 billion. Revenue will continue to be driven by Azure which, as a reminder, can have quarterly variability primarily from our per-user business and from in-period revenue recognition depending on the mix of contracts. In Azure, our per-user business should continue to benefit from Microsoft 365 suite momentum, though we expect continued moderation in growth rate given the size of the installed base.

    As I noted earlier, we exited Q2 with Azure growth in the mid-30s in constant currency. And from that, we expect Q3 growth to decelerate roughly four to five points in constant currency. FX impact in Azure is about one point more than at the segment level. In our on-premises server business, we expect revenue to decline low single digits as demand for our hybrid solutions will be more than offset by unfavorable FX impact.

    And in Enterprise Services, revenue should decline low to mid-single digits, driven by Microsoft Consulting Services. In More Personal Computing, we expect revenue of $11.9 billion to $12.3 billion. Windows OEM revenue should decline in the mid- to high 30s, in line with the PC market. We expect Q3 PC units to be similar to pre-pandemic levels.

    In devices, revenues should decline in the mid-40s as we work through the execution challenges noted earlier. In Windows Commercial products and cloud services on a strong prior-year comparable, revenue should be relatively flat as customer demand for Microsoft 365 and our advanced security solutions will be partially offset by the slowdown in new business noted earlier. Search and news advertising ex TAC should grow high single digits, roughly seven points faster than overall search and news advertising revenue, driven by continued volume strength supported by Edge browser share gains and the inclusion of Xandr. And in gaming, on a prior-year comparable that benefited from increased console supply, we expect revenue to decline in the high single digits.

    We expect Xbox content and services revenue to decline in the low single digits as growth in Xbox Game Pass subscriptions will be more than offset by lower monetization per hour and third-party and first-party content. Now, back to company guidance. We expect COGS to grow between 1% and 2% in constant currency or to be between $15.65 billion and $15.85 billion and operating expense to grow between 11% and 12% at constant currency or be $14.7 billion to $14.8 billion. Other income and expense should be roughly $200 million as interest income is expected to more than offset interest expense.

    As a reminder, we are required to recognize mark-to-market gains and losses on our equity portfolio, which can increase quarterly volatility. We expect our Q3 effective tax rate to be between 19% and 20%. And finally, as a reminder, for Q3 cash flow, we expect to make a $1.2 billion cash tax payment related to the TCJA capitalization of R&D provision. Now, some thoughts on H2 and the full year.

    First, in our Commercial business, revenue grew 20% on a constant-currency basis in H1. However, we now expect to see a deceleration in H2 given how we exited December. Next, higher energy costs for the full year are now expected to be $500 million compared to our previous estimate of $800 million. Third, as we continue to prioritize our investments and anniversary the Nuance and Xandr acquisitions, our Q4 operating expense growth should be in the low single digits in constant currency.

    Finally, we remain committed to operational excellence, aligning cost and growth, investing in our customer success, and leading the AI platform wave. As a result, when excluding the Q2 charge and favorable impact from the change in accounting estimate, we expect full-year operating margins to be down roughly one point in constant currency and roughly two points in USD, even with the headwinds from materially lower OEM revenue and higher energy costs. In the first half of the year, over 70% of our revenue came from our Commercial business and over 70% of that from Microsoft Cloud. We have a resilient foundation and durable growth markets where we are gaining share.

    I'm confident in the ability of our Microsoft team to manage the near term by continuing to position ourselves for the future. With that, let's go to Q&A. Brett?

    Thanks, Amy. We'll now move over to the Q&A. Out of respect for others on the call, we request that participants please only ask one question. Joe, can you please repeat your instructions?

    Ladies and gentlemen, at this time, we will be conducting a question-and-answer session. [Operator instructions] Our first question comes from the line of Keith Weiss with Morgan Stanley. Please proceed.

    Excellent. Thank you, guys, for taking the question. I was hoping we could delve into the expansion of the investment into OpenAI. Satya, I was hoping you could talk to us about, is there any expansion in the scope of what you guys are doing with OpenAI and the commitment that you guys are making in terms of sort of the compute capacity you're going to be giving to them? And then maybe as from an investor's perspective, how should we think about when this functionality is going to become -- expand beyond just sort of the Azure OpenAI services? And where are we going to start to see some of the positive impacts to perhaps Bing or the productivity suite or more broadly across the solution portfolio?

    Thank you so much, Keith, for the question. So, as you know, we started the OpenAI partnership now in three years, three and a half years ago. And we've been actually working very hard on a lot of elements of this partnership over the last three years. And so, I think the way for our investors to see this is we fundamentally believe that the next big platform wave, as I said, is going to be AI and be strong.

    We also believe a lot of the enterprise value gets created by just being able to catch these waves and then have those waves impact every part of our tech stack and also create new solutions and new opportunities. So, whenever we think about platform opportunities and platform shift opportunities, that's how we come at it. How can we essentially ride the wave for everything that we have today and make it more expansive and then what can be created? So, if you take that lens, the core of Azure, or what is considered cloud computing fundamentally changes in its nature and how compute, storage, and network come together. That's, in some sense, under the radar, if you will, for the last three and a half, four years, we've been working very, very hard to build both the training supercomputers and now, of course, the inference infrastructure because once you use AI inside of your applications, it goes from just being training-heavy to inference.

    So, I think core Azure itself is being transformed for the core infrastructure business. It's being transformed. And so, you can see us with data beyond Azure OpenAI services even, think about what Synapse plus OpenAI APIs can do. We already have Power Platform incorporated capability.

    You could prompt a -- I mean, one of the reasons why we are the leaders in robotic process automation and workflow automation today is because of some of the AI capabilities that we have in there. GitHub Copilot is, in fact, you would say, the most at-scale LLM-based product out there in the marketplace today. And so, we fully expect us to sort of incorporate AI in every layer of the stack, whether it's in productivity, whether it's in our consumer services. And so, we're excited about it.

    But I think that we're also excited about OpenAI innovation, right? So, they commercialize their products. We're excited about the ChatGPT being built on Azure and having the traction it has. So, we look to both, there's an investment part to it and there's a commercial partnership. But fundamentally, it's going to be something that's going to drive, I think, innovation and competitive differentiation in every one of the Microsoft solutions by leading in AI.

    Outstanding. Thank you, guys.

    Thanks. Joe, next question, please.

    Our next question comes from the line of Brent Thill with Jefferies. Please proceed.

    Thanks. Satya, can you give us your overall macro view? There were some comments you had made that concerned, I think, many about the state of the U.S. spending environment. I'm just curious if you could comment and follow up on what you're seeing there just from a spend environment throughout the year.

    I think many came away with that seeming that you were saying it's getting worse, not better. Can you just give us a little more color on that? Thank you.

    Thank you, Brent, and first of all, I was making a comment which is sort of a global comment, not just a specific U.S. comment. I mean, there is only -- I always sort of subscribe to that there's only one law of gravity that I think all of us are subject to, which is inflation-adjusted economic growth in the world. And then how many times that do we grow? Because as I said in my I fundamentally believe tech as a percentage of GDP is going to be much higher and on a secular basis.

    So, the question is, how many times is it given the overall inflation-adjusted economic growth? So, that's kind of how I look at it. Given that, I think the two things that we see, we commented on that even in the last quarter, and it's even in the outlook, which is the thing that customers are doing is what they accelerated during the pandemic. They are making sure that they're getting most value out of it or optimizing it. And then also being a bit more cautious on given the macroeconomic headwinds out there in the market.

    So, given those two things -- the point is, at some point, the optimizations will end. In fact, the money that they save in any optimization of any workload is what they into workloads. And those workloads will start ramping up. And so, one of the key things we are watching for, Brent, is to make sure that we are gaining share in this space through our value propositions and even build loyalty with our customers so that long term, we are well-positioned for share gains.

    So, that's sort of fundamentally how we view it. And then the other aspect I'd also say is simultaneously investing in this new AI trend because I don't think any application start that happens next is going to look like the application starts of 2019 or 2020. They're all going to have considerations around how is my AI inference performance, cost model is going to look like. And that's where we are well positioned again.

    So, that's how I view it. The market, you all are better readers of, quite frankly, what's happening out there. We can tell you what we see. What we see is optimization and some cautious approach to new workloads and that will cycle through, but we do fundamentally believe on a long-term basis, as a percentage of GDP, tech spend is going to go up.

    Thanks, Brent. Joe, next question, please.

    Our next question comes from the line of Mark Moerdler with Bernstein. Please proceed.

    Thank you very much. I'd like to follow up a little bit on this question relating to optimization. I know we saw some slowing this quarter. You're guiding to some slowing next quarter in Cloud and Azure.

    How much of that is -- do you believe at this point is truly people optimizing what they've already bought and stepping that before that versus how much of that is due to macro factors themselves specifically impacting demand?

    I'd say two things, and then, Amy, please feel free to add. One is, it absolutely is -- starts with workloads that they have at scale just because of the visibility one has on what's driving essentially the consumption meters. And there's real guidance that we ourselves in the product to say, here are the things that you do optimize your billing. And so that's sort of what is the fundamental thing.

    When we say do more with less and how can we help, that's sort of the first place customers go to. And then the next piece, really, I think, is going to be about how they take the optimization that they get and the savings they get workload and what new project starts. And that's where I think there's a reprioritization. When should we start the new projects? Those are the two things that are happening simultaneously.

    They don't perfectly match, but one of the things is they're looking to back some savings on some workloads and then start. So, that's where I think a little bit of what has to happen is the cycle time where the optimization cycle finishes, the projects start, and then the projects ramp. And I think that that's what at least on the cloud consumption side you're seeing. And on the per-user side, it's slightly different, which is in per-user also, there was real acceleration when it comes to purchases of per-user licenses, whether it is for knowledge workers or frontline workers.

    And again, they're all now making sure that they're all getting used and the usage is going up. Like when we look at our Office 365 usage, all those numbers are pretty up year over year in a substantial way. Like I gave you some of the Teams numbers. In fact, one of the things was, what will have Teams usage after the pandemic.

    Guess what? They're up. And so, those are the good news. And now once we cycle through that again, the seats will get added and premium, like I'm very, very excited about Teams Pro coming out in a couple of weeks. And those are all the things that people will be able to sort of use to ensure that the ARPUs are also going up a bit value.

    And, Mark, because I do think it's actually quite hard to separate from a driver perspective how much is optimization versus macro. It's all related when you start to say what's the best ROI I can get on every budget dollar I spend, and our job as a partner to so many of these customers is to help them do that. So, Satya has talked a bit about Azure. Let me talk a little bit about the per-user where the way it showed itself is we had very high renewal rates and very good suite performance at renewal, meaning what we tend to call internally recapture.

    While we had some more challenges on maybe a stand-alone sale of a new product where the cycle is going to be a little longer, right, and you're going to have to show that cost savings. But the suite sale, the value in that showed itself in terms of strong E5. You can see the ARPU growth, and you can see the consistency potentially in both renewal rate and in, frankly, the Microsoft 365 performance.

    Perfect. Thank you very much.

    Yeah. Thanks, Mark. Joe, next question, please.

    Our next question comes from the line of Kash Rangan with Goldman Sachs. Please proceed.

    Thank you very much. Satya, I'm curious if you could talk about how long the cycle time for optimization lasts. Are we talking a couple of quarters, few quarters, or multiple years? Because I do take your comment about tech spending as a percentage of global GDP going higher. So, if that were to happen, this -- how do you frame the duration of this optimization that's happening in the industry? Thank you so much.

    I mean, you know, I think that you can -- you have a workload, you optimize the workload, and you start a new workload. So, the thing that I would say is when you're done with optimizing a workload is when you are done with the cycle. So, I think if you sort of say, when did we enter this -- we accelerated workloads during the pandemic over a period of two years. So, we are optimizing.

    I don't think we're going to take two years to optimize, but we're going to take this year to optimize. And then as we optimize the new projects start and the new project starts don't start instantly at their peak usage. They start and then they scale. And so, those are the two cycles that will happen where there will be a time lag.

    Got it. So, it's a temporary adjustment before we start to get the full effect of the next set of workloads. Good to get that.

    That's correct. That's correct.

    Thanks, Kash. Joe, next question, please.

    The next question comes from the line of Karl Keirstead with UBS. Please proceed.

    Thank you. This one for Amy. Amy, given the obviously tough environment, it sounds like reaching that full fiscal year 20% constant-currency Commercial revs guide would be tough. Is that also true for the soft guidance for 10%-plus total revenue growth for the year? And if I could just sneak in a clarification, Amy, just because it's an important metric.

    When you talk about a four- to five-point decel in Azure, that's off of the 38% reported for December, right, not off the 35% exit rate? Thank you.

    It's all -- Karl, let me just -- the first half of your question, give me a second. On the second half of your question, which is the guide off the exit rate, it's off the exit rate on Azure of four to five points, just to make sure that is clear. In terms of thinking about total year revenue, right, I did not comment on full-year revenue as we continue, I think, really just to watch the Windows PC market as it returns to pre-pandemic levels. Outside of that, as you can see, the trends are relatively consistent.

    So, in some points, it's important because if you look at the operating income margin guidance that I talked about, the fact that we are guiding to really only one point of margin deceleration for the year on a constant-currency basis with probably over $2 billion of headwind from the OEM business from what we had anticipated heading into the year, the focus on margins, the focus on prioritization, the focus on putting our investments into where we know they have high return, I actually feel quite good about the place that puts us in as we exit the year in terms of -- and the right energy, right, or leaving the year in Q4 on leverage.

    Got it. Super helpful. Thanks, Amy.

    Thanks, Karl. Joe, next question, please.

    Our next question comes from the line of Brad Zelnick with Deutsche Bank. Please proceed.

    Great. Thanks very much. Amy, I wanted to ask about the expense actions that you announced last week. Obviously, not a decision that you would take lightly.

    How are you thinking about headcount for the remainder of the year and the possibility for further expense actions, if necessary? And what criteria do you consider in making these decisions? Thanks.

    Brad, listen, thanks for that question. Obviously, as we think about the Q4 guidance around low single-digit operating expense growth, we start to, as you know, sort of lap certain real acceleration points that we had last year. And we lapped the acquisitions both of Nuance and of Xandr. So, by the time that we get to the end of Q4, you'll see very moderated headcount growth on a year-over-year basis in addition to some the prioritization decisions we've made.

    And you're right. We take decisions like the one we had to make to get our cost structure more in line with revenue just incredibly seriously because we have lots of very talented people who were impacted by that. And so, I do think that we feel confident in that exit rate. As I said, it will certainly imply that year-over-year growth as we lap some of the investments that we've made will be quite small.

    Thanks for the color.

    Thanks, Brad. Joe, next question, please.

    Our next question comes from the line of Brad Reback with Stifel. Please proceed.

    Great. Thanks very much. On Office 365 Commercial, with you guys approaching 400 million seats and the E5 business really starting to accelerate here on that consolidated sort of expense ROI that you're putting forth, should we think about the growth there more evenly balanced between seats and ARPU going forward or still to continue to favor seats? Thanks.

    Yes. That's a good question, especially because this quarter, you started to see a little bit more of that ARPU influence. And as you might have gathered from your question and I'll just reinforce it, as we see some of this moderating seat growth, whether that's some of the new SKU weakness that we had talked about, some of the stand-alone stuff, you're starting to also see E5 ARPU happen at the same time. So, it does create some stability in that Office 365 Commercial revenue number.

    So, we're seeing still good seat growth, still growth across all workloads. And as you're pointing out, we're getting further into the E5 health, where we've seen, I want to say, four or five really good quarters of E5 adoption. The value there is just very high for customers in this environment between analytics, security, and I think we've given some, I think, good security data points in terms of adoption and voice. This is a place where customers can save money by moving to this suite.

    And I do think you're starting to see some of that ARPU help.

    And we're also investing in outside of Microsoft 365 in other per-user workloads. We were a new suite Power Platform on its own and even stand-alone offers like even Teams Pro and what have you. So, there's a significant amount of work we want to do besides sort of the suites that we all sort of have at scale.

    Great. Thank you very much.

    Joe, we have time for one last question.

    Our next question comes from the line of Tyler Radke with Citi. Please proceed.

    Yes. Thanks for taking the question. I wanted to ask just about how your visibility has changed in terms of some of the larger Azure customer ramps. Could you just comment on, to the extent those large customer ramps or if any of those projects are getting put on pause? And then is there any way to just kind of quantify the AI potential contribution or maybe GPU-powered contribution that Azure that you're expecting over the coming quarters? Thank you.

    On the second piece, I think it's too early to sort of start somehow separating out AI from the rest of the workload. I mean, even the workloads themselves, AI is just going to be a core part of a workload in Azure versus just AI alone. So, in other words, if you have an application that's using a bunch of inference, let's say, it's also going to have a bunch of storage, and it's going to have a bunch of other compute beyond GPU inferencing, if you will. So, I think over time, obviously, I think every app is going to be an AI app.

    Ladies and gentlemen, please stand by.

    That wraps up the Q&A portion of today's earnings call. Thank you for joining us today, and we look forward to speaking with all of you soon.

    This article is a transcript of this conference call produced for The Motley Fool. While we strive for our Foolish Best, there may be errors, omissions, or inaccuracies in this transcript. As with all our articles, The Motley Fool does not assume any responsibility for your use of this content, and we strongly encourage you to do your own research, including listening to the call yourself and reading the company's SEC filings. Please see our Terms and Conditions for additional details, including our Obligatory Capitalized Disclaimers of Liability.

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  •  Following last year s suspension of virtual dollar card service by major fintechs including Flutterwave s batter app and Eversend among others buying from international stores has become very difficult for many Nigerians This problem was furthered compounded recently after more Nigerian banks suspended international transactions on naira cards as Nigeria s forex scarcity scarcity crisis worsens While the initial 20 daily spending limit on naira cards was an issue for many Nigerians who had higher international transactions to make daily the total suspension by banks left many with no other alternatives However there are still a few Nigerian fintech firms offering virtual dollar card services in Nigeria These include Chippercash and Payday The two platforms are two of the few fintech remaining that are still offering this important service to enable Nigerians to carry out international transactions The only caveat is that the exchange rates on these platforms are high and that is understandable considering the difficulty in sourcing forex which is the main reason Nigerian banks suspended international transactions on naira cards Chipper Cash is a cross border payments app that allows people to send and receive money in and between Nigeria South Africa the United States of America Ghana Uganda Rwanda and the UK You can use the Chipper Card for online purchases anywhere Visa cards are accepted globally The app also allows users to Pay bills with no extra fees charged Payday prides itself as a Global Neobank for remote workers and digital professionals that allows its customers to open USD EUR and GBP bank accounts for free and spend with the Payday Mastercard Payday allows Africans to receive and send payments to and from anywhere in the world With the app you get a wallet that can accept international transfers and a virtual card to spend anywhere While these two apps offer similar services they have some unique differences in their functionalities and values These are up for comparison Spending limit With international spending at the heart of the request for virtual dollar cards the platforms offering the service have placed limits on the amount a user can spend daily Chipper Cash has a daily maximum limit of 1 000 on its virtual card and 4 000 monthly limit Payday on the other hand allows its customers to spend a maximum of 4 000 daily and 120 000 monthly on its virtual card thus giving users more milage than Chipper Cash Exchange rate The exchange rate on the two platforms is not fixed as they are dependent on the prevailing market rates at the time of transaction Number of downloads Both Chipper Cash and Payday apps are available for download on the two app stores Google Play Store for Android users and iOS Store for iPhone users While the iOS Store does not show the number of downloads on apps Google Play Store shows that the Payday app has been downloaded 100 000 times whereas Chipper Cash has 5 million plus downloads Ratings on both apps Based on users experience Chipper Cash is 4 2 out of 5 on both the iOS Store and Google Play Store Payday on the other hand is rated 3 5 on iOS Store and 3 6 on Google Play Store Number of Reviews In terms of the number of reviews is far ahead with a total of 100 000 reviews on the Google Play Store Payday on the hand has been reviewed by 1 000 users on the Google platform App sizes Memory space is one major challenge for mobile users especially the Random Access Memory RAM which houses all apps on a phone A heavy sized app occupies a lot of space on the users phones and may not function optimally if the user does not have enough memory which is why the lighter an app comes the better Comparing the two apps on the basis of size Payday is better in this regard as it is the lighter of the two On Google Play Store the app is 23MB while its size on the iOS store is 86 2 MB The Chipper Cash app comes heavier and will occupy more space on the users phones with its 43MB size on the Play Store and 115 1MB on iOS Store According to Efuntade Gbayi Chipper Cash does what it promises to do by enabling international purchases with a virtual card but the exchange rate is high Like other users Chase Mood said he has had an amazing experience on the Chipper Cash app For Wilson Uloko withdrawing from the Payday app was a challenge even though every other feature of the app works well Bottomline Both Chipper Cash and Payday apps are bailing out many Nigerians that would have been stranded as a result of the suspension of international transactions on naira cards by Nigerian banks While their services seem the same and the customer experience is similar Payday is better technically based on the size of its app which is lighter for users Again Payday is offering a higher daily and monthly spending limit on the virtual dollar card than Chipper Cash Source Credit https nairametrics com 2023 01 20 virtual dollar cards chipper cash vs payday which is better
    Virtual Dollar Cards: Chipper Cash vs Payday, which is better?
     Following last year s suspension of virtual dollar card service by major fintechs including Flutterwave s batter app and Eversend among others buying from international stores has become very difficult for many Nigerians This problem was furthered compounded recently after more Nigerian banks suspended international transactions on naira cards as Nigeria s forex scarcity scarcity crisis worsens While the initial 20 daily spending limit on naira cards was an issue for many Nigerians who had higher international transactions to make daily the total suspension by banks left many with no other alternatives However there are still a few Nigerian fintech firms offering virtual dollar card services in Nigeria These include Chippercash and Payday The two platforms are two of the few fintech remaining that are still offering this important service to enable Nigerians to carry out international transactions The only caveat is that the exchange rates on these platforms are high and that is understandable considering the difficulty in sourcing forex which is the main reason Nigerian banks suspended international transactions on naira cards Chipper Cash is a cross border payments app that allows people to send and receive money in and between Nigeria South Africa the United States of America Ghana Uganda Rwanda and the UK You can use the Chipper Card for online purchases anywhere Visa cards are accepted globally The app also allows users to Pay bills with no extra fees charged Payday prides itself as a Global Neobank for remote workers and digital professionals that allows its customers to open USD EUR and GBP bank accounts for free and spend with the Payday Mastercard Payday allows Africans to receive and send payments to and from anywhere in the world With the app you get a wallet that can accept international transfers and a virtual card to spend anywhere While these two apps offer similar services they have some unique differences in their functionalities and values These are up for comparison Spending limit With international spending at the heart of the request for virtual dollar cards the platforms offering the service have placed limits on the amount a user can spend daily Chipper Cash has a daily maximum limit of 1 000 on its virtual card and 4 000 monthly limit Payday on the other hand allows its customers to spend a maximum of 4 000 daily and 120 000 monthly on its virtual card thus giving users more milage than Chipper Cash Exchange rate The exchange rate on the two platforms is not fixed as they are dependent on the prevailing market rates at the time of transaction Number of downloads Both Chipper Cash and Payday apps are available for download on the two app stores Google Play Store for Android users and iOS Store for iPhone users While the iOS Store does not show the number of downloads on apps Google Play Store shows that the Payday app has been downloaded 100 000 times whereas Chipper Cash has 5 million plus downloads Ratings on both apps Based on users experience Chipper Cash is 4 2 out of 5 on both the iOS Store and Google Play Store Payday on the other hand is rated 3 5 on iOS Store and 3 6 on Google Play Store Number of Reviews In terms of the number of reviews is far ahead with a total of 100 000 reviews on the Google Play Store Payday on the hand has been reviewed by 1 000 users on the Google platform App sizes Memory space is one major challenge for mobile users especially the Random Access Memory RAM which houses all apps on a phone A heavy sized app occupies a lot of space on the users phones and may not function optimally if the user does not have enough memory which is why the lighter an app comes the better Comparing the two apps on the basis of size Payday is better in this regard as it is the lighter of the two On Google Play Store the app is 23MB while its size on the iOS store is 86 2 MB The Chipper Cash app comes heavier and will occupy more space on the users phones with its 43MB size on the Play Store and 115 1MB on iOS Store According to Efuntade Gbayi Chipper Cash does what it promises to do by enabling international purchases with a virtual card but the exchange rate is high Like other users Chase Mood said he has had an amazing experience on the Chipper Cash app For Wilson Uloko withdrawing from the Payday app was a challenge even though every other feature of the app works well Bottomline Both Chipper Cash and Payday apps are bailing out many Nigerians that would have been stranded as a result of the suspension of international transactions on naira cards by Nigerian banks While their services seem the same and the customer experience is similar Payday is better technically based on the size of its app which is lighter for users Again Payday is offering a higher daily and monthly spending limit on the virtual dollar card than Chipper Cash Source Credit https nairametrics com 2023 01 20 virtual dollar cards chipper cash vs payday which is better
    Virtual Dollar Cards: Chipper Cash vs Payday, which is better?
    General news1 week ago

    Virtual Dollar Cards: Chipper Cash vs Payday, which is better?

    Following last year’s suspension of virtual dollar card service by major fintechs, including Flutterwave’s batter app and Eversend among others, buying from international stores has become very difficult for many Nigerians.

    This problem was furthered compounded recently after more Nigerian banks suspended international transactions on naira cards, as Nigeria’s forex scarcity scarcity crisis worsens.

    While the initial $20 daily spending limit on naira cards was an issue for many Nigerians who had higher international transactions to make daily, the total suspension by banks left many with no other alternatives.

    However, there are still a few Nigerian fintech firms offering virtual dollar card services in Nigeria. These include Chippercash and Payday.

    The two platforms are two of the few fintech remaining that are still offering this important service to enable Nigerians to carry out international transactions. The only caveat is that the exchange rates on these platforms are high; and that is understandable considering the difficulty in sourcing forex, which is the main reason Nigerian banks suspended international transactions on naira cards.

    Chipper Cash, is a cross-border payments app that allows people to send and receive money in and between Nigeria, South Africa, the United States of America 🇺🇸, Ghana, Uganda, Rwanda, and the UK. You can use the Chipper Card for online purchases anywhere Visa cards are accepted globally. The app also allows users to Pay bills with no extra fees charged.

    Payday prides itself as a Global Neobank for remote workers and digital professionals that allows its customers to open USD, EUR, and GBP bank accounts for free and spend with the Payday Mastercard. Payday allows Africans to receive and send payments to and from anywhere in the world. With the app, you get a wallet that can accept international transfers and a virtual card to spend anywhere.

    While these two apps offer similar services, they have some unique differences in their functionalities and values. These are up for comparison.

    Spending limit: With international spending at the heart of the request for virtual dollar cards, the platforms offering the service have placed limits on the amount a user can spend daily. Chipper Cash has a daily maximum limit of $1,000 on its virtual card and $4,000 monthly limit. Payday, on the other hand, allows its customers to spend a maximum of $4,000 daily and $120,000 monthly on its virtual card, thus giving users more milage than Chipper Cash.

    Exchange rate: The exchange rate on the two platforms is not fixed as they are dependent on the prevailing market rates at the time of transaction.

    Number of downloads: Both Chipper Cash and Payday apps are available for download on the two app stores, Google Play Store for Android users and iOS Store for iPhone users. While the iOS Store does not show the number of downloads on apps, Google Play Store shows that the Payday app has been downloaded 100,000 times, whereas, Chipper Cash has 5 million plus downloads.

    Ratings on both apps: Based on users’ experience, Chipper Cash is 4.2 out of 5 on both the iOS Store and Google Play Store. Payday, on the other hand, is rated 3.5 on iOS Store and 3.6 on Google Play Store.

    Number of Reviews: In terms of the number of reviews, is far ahead with a total of 100,000 reviews on the Google Play Store.  Payday on the hand has been reviewed by 1,000 users on the Google platform.

    App sizes: Memory space is one major challenge for mobile users, especially the Random Access Memory (RAM) which houses all apps on a phone. A heavy-sized app occupies a lot of space on the users’ phones and may not function optimally if the user does not have enough memory, which is why the lighter an app comes, the better.

    Comparing the two apps on the basis of size, Payday is better in this regard as it is the lighter of the two. On Google Play Store, the app is 23MB, while its size on the iOS store is 86.2 MB. The Chipper Cash app comes heavier and will occupy more space on the users’ phones with its 43MB size on the Play Store and 115.1MB on iOS Store.

    According to Efuntade Gbayi, Chipper Cash does what it promises to do by enabling international purchases with a virtual card, but the exchange rate is high.

    Like other users, Chase Mood said he has had an amazing experience on the Chipper Cash app.

    For Wilson Uloko, withdrawing from the Payday app was a challenge, even though every other feature of the app works well.

    Bottomline: Both Chipper Cash and Payday apps are bailing out many Nigerians that would have been stranded as a result of the suspension of international transactions on naira cards by Nigerian banks. While their services seem the same and the customer experience is similar, Payday is better technically based on the size of its app which is lighter for users. Again, Payday is offering a higher daily and monthly spending limit on the virtual dollar card than Chipper Cash.

    Source Credit: https://nairametrics.com/2023/01/20/virtual-dollar-cards-chipper-cash-vs-payday-which-is-better/

  •   Earlier this month Justice Minister Dr Wijayadasa Rajapaksha PC on behalf of the Government postponed the Parliamentary debate on the controversial Bureau of Rehabilitation Bill scheduled for January 5 2023 to January 19 2023 This Bill is for the establishment of a bureau The Bureau of Rehabilitation to regulate its powers duties and functions and to provide for related matters The Justice Minister assured the House that the Bill was not withdrawn only postponed The Bill sparked controversy over several provisions as Section 28 2 where Centres for Rehabilitation personnel to preserve order and discipline may use all means including minimum force as may reasonably be necessary to compel obedience to any lawful directions Opposition MPs human rights activists and civil society organisations are concerned the Bill can be used to suppress anti Government protesters Last year former Commissioner of the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka HRCSL Ambika Satkunanathan filed a Fundamental Rights Petition against the Bill in October as well The Supreme Court has determined that the Bill is as a whole inconsistent with Article 12 1 of the Constitution which reads All persons are equal before the law and are entitled to the equal protection of the law Therefore this can be enacted only by special majority as required by Article 84 2 of the Constitution which Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena informed Parliament on October 20 2022 Furthermore Supreme Court determined that to remove the inconsistency with Article 12 1 All references to ex combatants violent extremist groups and any other group of persons must be deleted from the bill Limited to rehabilitation of drug dependent persons and such other persons as may be identified by law However since the late 1960s the youth in this country has been falling prey to various agendas that use terrorism and extremism as its macabre strategy Therefore not only are we in urgent need of a preventative measure but also facilities to rehabilitate those who were engaged in acts against the State Clearly the Supreme Court bound by the Constitution can only interpret according to the provisions of the apex law which came into being in 1977 At the time we had already experienced one insurgency and the other was brewing with numerous terrorist groups mushrooming to fight for a Tamil exclusive homeland Shortly after ushering in the new Constitution that was promoted as powerful the North was infested with about 80 different terrorist groups fighting for one cause but also engaged in a deadly rivalry against each other Yet our understanding then of terrorism was at best rudimentary It has been 14 years since we eradicated a three decade terrorist menace Four years ago a series of bombs exploded on both the East and West coasts on Easter Sunday The first half of 2022 was broiled in anti Government protests with the agenda to push the country into anarchy Metamorphosis of Terrorism Our understanding of terrorism thus continues to be challenged The Easter Attack changed the understanding we had of terrorism garnered from the JVP LTTE experiences The anti Government protests that plagued the Gotabaya Rajapaksa Administration yet again redefined terrorism Taking Sri Lanka s experiences into account as noted above three metamorphic stages of terrorism can be identified 1 JVP LTTE Armed youth educated and uneducated typically from socioeconomically challenged backgrounds Conscripted forcefully or otherwise to an organisation with a clear hierarchy that train cadres and fund subversive acts Engaged in subversive and terror activities on command from the hierarchy where independent acts are not tolerated Seen as freedom fighters gain sympathy and even support from foreign Governments international bodies and civil societies Maniacally focussed on a set of clearly defined goals that cannot be attained democratically 2 Easter attack Educated and affluent men and women with established families incomes and social status Identified by the IS ideology by executing terror acts that attracts world attention and thereby that of the IS than conscripted directly by the Organisation Works independently and arms trains and funds their own atrocities While neither the acts nor cause gains these terrorists any sympathy Governments under severe pressure from enforcing strong anti terrorist laws by other Governments international organisations and civil societies Fanatically driven but the end objective is either not communicated clearly or too fantastic to be credible definitely unattainable democratically 3 Anti Government protests On the surface this was an apolitical people s movement mostly by middle income earners inconvenienced by the shortages and power outages Supposedly impromptu but managed via social media by vested interest entities including political bodies Marketed as peaceful this won the support of Western Governments international organisations and civil societies making it politically incorrect for the Government to take action against a movement that was pushing the country into anarchy Increasingly displayed violent tendencies with islandwide presence Financed by both invisible funders with a hidden agenda as well as various entities in the business community mostly who thought this was just a people s movement against a Government s mismanagement Different faces same damage Nevertheless the effect from each episode has been the same diabolical damage to the economy While many blame the JR Jayewardene Government for opening the economy submerging the State Owned Enterprises initiated by the predecessor the Sirimavo Bandaranaike Government there are other factors for our economic contraction The deliberate acts of sabotage and destruction brought on by these four movements JVP insurgency LTTE terrorism Easter Attack and anarchy must also be taken into account The current dilemma faced by the hoteliers is a case in point This year began with The Hotels Association of Sri Lanka THASL President M Shanthikumar making his case with President Ranil Wickremesinghe Central Bank Governor Dr Nandalal Weerasinghe Tourism Minister Harin Fernando and multilateral donor agencies as Asian Development Bank and others for a continuation of debt moratorium for another year He asks for this breathing space to keep hotels operational in 2023 as it is critical to continue to cater to the inflow of tourists that is just picking up Despite being a fully recovered post COVID destination the negative perception created by the political and economic crisis in 2022 followed by the mammoth protests have given travellers the impression that the country is unsafe observes Shanthikumar Hence until April 2023 the hotels on average are not expected to exceed 25 to 30 percent occupancy This coupled with the increase in operational costs that cannot be brought down puts hotels at greater risk of having to shut down if timely and adequate support is not given If hotels are not protected warns Shanthikumar the whole tourism industry that provides livelihoods to 12 percent of the population will collapse Even though arrivals had grown from its dismal numbers in 2021 by 207 percent this is still 69 percent lower in comparison to the record achievement of 2 3 million in 2018 Likewise despite 313 percent increase in earnings from tourism during the first 11 months of 2022 compared to 2021 this is still less than even one fourth of the USD 4 4 billion earned in 2018 This is just one instance of the economic disasters we have faced because of these anti Government acts Over the decades we have lost much of our infrastructure and opportunities As Shanthikumar points out recovery is a long and painful process even long after the saboteurs are gone Stemming from the thus weakened economy we face threats to our sovereignty freedom and independence Furthermore we as a nation are forced to endure being insulted degraded discredited infantilized and worse pitied Lessons from past Conspiracy Theories This underscores the importance of understanding the motive of terrorism irrespective of the manner it manifests Yet this is not an easy feat as various conspiracy theories that precipitate from nowhere misdirect our focus Using Socioeconomics For instance the youth who joined the JVP insurgencies in 1971 and 1987 believed that theirs was a fight against the oppression of the economically challenged by the high income earners Alarmed at been a target as well as demoralized by the contracting economy and loss of opportunities many proprietors and entrepreneurs left the country Consequently currently there is a dearth of entrepreneurship in Sri Lanka Yet the education system is yet to take note of these lacunae Instead of inculcating creativity or leadership we pursue a certificate based education even though we do not have the capacity to accommodate all those who qualify for tertiary education This increases the pressure on the youth and makes them easier prey to nefarious elements Using Ethnicity The youth who joined or were forcibly conscripted to the LTTE were indoctrinated that the Tamil language and culture were threatened by the Sinhala Buddhist majoritarianism Yet the attack was not merely against the majority community Even the Muslims a community smaller than even the Tamils in Sri Lanka were attacked as well as certain groups in the Tamil Community allegedly kept other Tamil groups suppressed on caste basis Ultimately the most who were terrorized by the LTTE were the Tamil civilians including those who left the country Legally all Sri Lankan citizens enjoy the same privileges and are treated equally Factually the Tamil population living amongst the Sinhalese is greater than in the Northern or Eastern Provinces In fact during the height of terrorism many Tamils living in these two provinces moved to live outside these two provinces Yet the effort is to resolve the National Question which remains ambiguous and undefined to date Last December in a bid to formulate a road map for the Party leaders talks on ethnic reconciliation President Ranil Wickremesinghe convened an All Party Leaders Conference at the Presidential Secretariat to discuss the national question and other related minority issues with Tamil and Muslim parties The President stated that all political parties should agree to a solution to the ethnic problem before the 75th Independence celebration Subsequently the President s Office stated that President Ranil Wickremesinghe will brief the Cabinet in February 2023 on the progress of the decisions taken at the All Party Conference to resolve the major issues in the reconciliation process In the meantime the Upcountry Tamil Party has approached Norwegian national Eric Solheim to play a role in achieving a lasting solution to the ethnic conflict in Sri Lanka Solheim was the peace facilitator of the failed Norway brokered Ceasefire Agreement between the Sri Lankan Government and the LTTE from 2005 2006 Currently he is acting as President s International Climate Advisor As mentioned afore it is unclear what constitutes the ethnic conflict Without clarity on the matter it would be impossible to move forward especially when the dominant political party of TNA refuses to form a broad political alliance by accommodating any other Tamil party except its traditional allies Clearly we are running in circles without a clue to the causes that contributed to LTTE s strength Using Religious Extremism Up to date no one really understands the motive of the Easter Attack Hence there are many theories that have floated around since the Attack This range from Misinterpretation of the Quran Revenge for the attack on mosques in New Zealand Suspicions of a foreign plot because Foreign law enforcement agencies appeared within 24 hours of the Attack unprecedented despite enduring 30 years of terrorism Two bombers exploded themselves in the Chinese owned hotel Shangri La whereas other places had only one bomber The immediate announcement of the MCCC by the then Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera spun its own theories However protests over shortages are not the beginning but the middle of the chronology The beginning was with the graduates seeking employment in the State sector as well as those who were promised employment by the Yahapalana Government almost from the day President Gotabaya took Office The sequence of protests followed thereafter include protests Over the agrochemical ban From nurses and other healthcare personnel From teachers and principals over a pending issue of salary anomalies Whether these different protests over issues independent from one another were unrelated is a serious question before us Either way it put a spanner in the works as the Gotabaya Administration tried to outrun the huge debt burden the country was straining under with economic growth However these never ending protests simply acted as a spanner in the works The anti Government protests that almost pushed our country into anarchy have exposed itself as an economic saboteur Time will reveal whether this destructor was none other than ourselves as a nation who committed hara kiri or geopolitical assassins Cost of Conspiracy Theories Obviously despite defeating the violent arm of these movements we have not been able to adequately address the various conspiracies revolving at the time justifying or excusing terrorism or deflecting blame from the culprits This failure had stopped us from identifying and resolving the root causes Consequently terrorism continues to rear itself repeatedly Interestingly none of these terrorist movements are after the same objectives This begs the question whether terrorism is simply a front for a more devious agenda By allowing these conspiracy theories and acting in it we have damaged Sri Lanka by disrupting the rehabilitation of those who have been detained by the law enforcement authorities As was the case with Rajiv Gandhi s case even those convicted of heinous crimes can get released from prison even decades after the crime However if they are not rehabilitated when they are released they will continue to pose a threat to the society by Continuing with terror acts Spreading the ideology Influencing other like minded Emergence of other terrorist paramilitary to counter this threat If this threat is not uprooted completely those in custody killed by counter terrorism will be hailed as heroes martyrs Today LTTE cadres still in prison are those who committed grave crimes against humanity but refuse to be rehabilitated However they are now often referred to as political prisoners They are not political prisoners If a Member of the Parliament may not kill his political opponent then neither can any other Yet this kind of perversion disrupts community engagement programmes For instance after the Easter Attack the Government banned groups such as NTJ SLTJ and ACTJ However this is still only on paper and hence is still active Muslim Community or religious leaders have not yet come forward to stop the ongoing radicalization extremism or exclusivity combination of which produces terrorism This is not necessarily because of sympathy towards these extremists but due to lack of political will Therefore it behoves on the Government and the Opposition to Differentiate between a protester and a terrorist Bring in the necessary laws for the Constitution to accommodate to deal with terrorism terrorists and rehabilitation of terrorists email protected Credit Credit https nnn ng preventative measures needed to curb terrorism
    Preventative Measures Needed To Curb Terrorism
      Earlier this month Justice Minister Dr Wijayadasa Rajapaksha PC on behalf of the Government postponed the Parliamentary debate on the controversial Bureau of Rehabilitation Bill scheduled for January 5 2023 to January 19 2023 This Bill is for the establishment of a bureau The Bureau of Rehabilitation to regulate its powers duties and functions and to provide for related matters The Justice Minister assured the House that the Bill was not withdrawn only postponed The Bill sparked controversy over several provisions as Section 28 2 where Centres for Rehabilitation personnel to preserve order and discipline may use all means including minimum force as may reasonably be necessary to compel obedience to any lawful directions Opposition MPs human rights activists and civil society organisations are concerned the Bill can be used to suppress anti Government protesters Last year former Commissioner of the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka HRCSL Ambika Satkunanathan filed a Fundamental Rights Petition against the Bill in October as well The Supreme Court has determined that the Bill is as a whole inconsistent with Article 12 1 of the Constitution which reads All persons are equal before the law and are entitled to the equal protection of the law Therefore this can be enacted only by special majority as required by Article 84 2 of the Constitution which Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena informed Parliament on October 20 2022 Furthermore Supreme Court determined that to remove the inconsistency with Article 12 1 All references to ex combatants violent extremist groups and any other group of persons must be deleted from the bill Limited to rehabilitation of drug dependent persons and such other persons as may be identified by law However since the late 1960s the youth in this country has been falling prey to various agendas that use terrorism and extremism as its macabre strategy Therefore not only are we in urgent need of a preventative measure but also facilities to rehabilitate those who were engaged in acts against the State Clearly the Supreme Court bound by the Constitution can only interpret according to the provisions of the apex law which came into being in 1977 At the time we had already experienced one insurgency and the other was brewing with numerous terrorist groups mushrooming to fight for a Tamil exclusive homeland Shortly after ushering in the new Constitution that was promoted as powerful the North was infested with about 80 different terrorist groups fighting for one cause but also engaged in a deadly rivalry against each other Yet our understanding then of terrorism was at best rudimentary It has been 14 years since we eradicated a three decade terrorist menace Four years ago a series of bombs exploded on both the East and West coasts on Easter Sunday The first half of 2022 was broiled in anti Government protests with the agenda to push the country into anarchy Metamorphosis of Terrorism Our understanding of terrorism thus continues to be challenged The Easter Attack changed the understanding we had of terrorism garnered from the JVP LTTE experiences The anti Government protests that plagued the Gotabaya Rajapaksa Administration yet again redefined terrorism Taking Sri Lanka s experiences into account as noted above three metamorphic stages of terrorism can be identified 1 JVP LTTE Armed youth educated and uneducated typically from socioeconomically challenged backgrounds Conscripted forcefully or otherwise to an organisation with a clear hierarchy that train cadres and fund subversive acts Engaged in subversive and terror activities on command from the hierarchy where independent acts are not tolerated Seen as freedom fighters gain sympathy and even support from foreign Governments international bodies and civil societies Maniacally focussed on a set of clearly defined goals that cannot be attained democratically 2 Easter attack Educated and affluent men and women with established families incomes and social status Identified by the IS ideology by executing terror acts that attracts world attention and thereby that of the IS than conscripted directly by the Organisation Works independently and arms trains and funds their own atrocities While neither the acts nor cause gains these terrorists any sympathy Governments under severe pressure from enforcing strong anti terrorist laws by other Governments international organisations and civil societies Fanatically driven but the end objective is either not communicated clearly or too fantastic to be credible definitely unattainable democratically 3 Anti Government protests On the surface this was an apolitical people s movement mostly by middle income earners inconvenienced by the shortages and power outages Supposedly impromptu but managed via social media by vested interest entities including political bodies Marketed as peaceful this won the support of Western Governments international organisations and civil societies making it politically incorrect for the Government to take action against a movement that was pushing the country into anarchy Increasingly displayed violent tendencies with islandwide presence Financed by both invisible funders with a hidden agenda as well as various entities in the business community mostly who thought this was just a people s movement against a Government s mismanagement Different faces same damage Nevertheless the effect from each episode has been the same diabolical damage to the economy While many blame the JR Jayewardene Government for opening the economy submerging the State Owned Enterprises initiated by the predecessor the Sirimavo Bandaranaike Government there are other factors for our economic contraction The deliberate acts of sabotage and destruction brought on by these four movements JVP insurgency LTTE terrorism Easter Attack and anarchy must also be taken into account The current dilemma faced by the hoteliers is a case in point This year began with The Hotels Association of Sri Lanka THASL President M Shanthikumar making his case with President Ranil Wickremesinghe Central Bank Governor Dr Nandalal Weerasinghe Tourism Minister Harin Fernando and multilateral donor agencies as Asian Development Bank and others for a continuation of debt moratorium for another year He asks for this breathing space to keep hotels operational in 2023 as it is critical to continue to cater to the inflow of tourists that is just picking up Despite being a fully recovered post COVID destination the negative perception created by the political and economic crisis in 2022 followed by the mammoth protests have given travellers the impression that the country is unsafe observes Shanthikumar Hence until April 2023 the hotels on average are not expected to exceed 25 to 30 percent occupancy This coupled with the increase in operational costs that cannot be brought down puts hotels at greater risk of having to shut down if timely and adequate support is not given If hotels are not protected warns Shanthikumar the whole tourism industry that provides livelihoods to 12 percent of the population will collapse Even though arrivals had grown from its dismal numbers in 2021 by 207 percent this is still 69 percent lower in comparison to the record achievement of 2 3 million in 2018 Likewise despite 313 percent increase in earnings from tourism during the first 11 months of 2022 compared to 2021 this is still less than even one fourth of the USD 4 4 billion earned in 2018 This is just one instance of the economic disasters we have faced because of these anti Government acts Over the decades we have lost much of our infrastructure and opportunities As Shanthikumar points out recovery is a long and painful process even long after the saboteurs are gone Stemming from the thus weakened economy we face threats to our sovereignty freedom and independence Furthermore we as a nation are forced to endure being insulted degraded discredited infantilized and worse pitied Lessons from past Conspiracy Theories This underscores the importance of understanding the motive of terrorism irrespective of the manner it manifests Yet this is not an easy feat as various conspiracy theories that precipitate from nowhere misdirect our focus Using Socioeconomics For instance the youth who joined the JVP insurgencies in 1971 and 1987 believed that theirs was a fight against the oppression of the economically challenged by the high income earners Alarmed at been a target as well as demoralized by the contracting economy and loss of opportunities many proprietors and entrepreneurs left the country Consequently currently there is a dearth of entrepreneurship in Sri Lanka Yet the education system is yet to take note of these lacunae Instead of inculcating creativity or leadership we pursue a certificate based education even though we do not have the capacity to accommodate all those who qualify for tertiary education This increases the pressure on the youth and makes them easier prey to nefarious elements Using Ethnicity The youth who joined or were forcibly conscripted to the LTTE were indoctrinated that the Tamil language and culture were threatened by the Sinhala Buddhist majoritarianism Yet the attack was not merely against the majority community Even the Muslims a community smaller than even the Tamils in Sri Lanka were attacked as well as certain groups in the Tamil Community allegedly kept other Tamil groups suppressed on caste basis Ultimately the most who were terrorized by the LTTE were the Tamil civilians including those who left the country Legally all Sri Lankan citizens enjoy the same privileges and are treated equally Factually the Tamil population living amongst the Sinhalese is greater than in the Northern or Eastern Provinces In fact during the height of terrorism many Tamils living in these two provinces moved to live outside these two provinces Yet the effort is to resolve the National Question which remains ambiguous and undefined to date Last December in a bid to formulate a road map for the Party leaders talks on ethnic reconciliation President Ranil Wickremesinghe convened an All Party Leaders Conference at the Presidential Secretariat to discuss the national question and other related minority issues with Tamil and Muslim parties The President stated that all political parties should agree to a solution to the ethnic problem before the 75th Independence celebration Subsequently the President s Office stated that President Ranil Wickremesinghe will brief the Cabinet in February 2023 on the progress of the decisions taken at the All Party Conference to resolve the major issues in the reconciliation process In the meantime the Upcountry Tamil Party has approached Norwegian national Eric Solheim to play a role in achieving a lasting solution to the ethnic conflict in Sri Lanka Solheim was the peace facilitator of the failed Norway brokered Ceasefire Agreement between the Sri Lankan Government and the LTTE from 2005 2006 Currently he is acting as President s International Climate Advisor As mentioned afore it is unclear what constitutes the ethnic conflict Without clarity on the matter it would be impossible to move forward especially when the dominant political party of TNA refuses to form a broad political alliance by accommodating any other Tamil party except its traditional allies Clearly we are running in circles without a clue to the causes that contributed to LTTE s strength Using Religious Extremism Up to date no one really understands the motive of the Easter Attack Hence there are many theories that have floated around since the Attack This range from Misinterpretation of the Quran Revenge for the attack on mosques in New Zealand Suspicions of a foreign plot because Foreign law enforcement agencies appeared within 24 hours of the Attack unprecedented despite enduring 30 years of terrorism Two bombers exploded themselves in the Chinese owned hotel Shangri La whereas other places had only one bomber The immediate announcement of the MCCC by the then Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera spun its own theories However protests over shortages are not the beginning but the middle of the chronology The beginning was with the graduates seeking employment in the State sector as well as those who were promised employment by the Yahapalana Government almost from the day President Gotabaya took Office The sequence of protests followed thereafter include protests Over the agrochemical ban From nurses and other healthcare personnel From teachers and principals over a pending issue of salary anomalies Whether these different protests over issues independent from one another were unrelated is a serious question before us Either way it put a spanner in the works as the Gotabaya Administration tried to outrun the huge debt burden the country was straining under with economic growth However these never ending protests simply acted as a spanner in the works The anti Government protests that almost pushed our country into anarchy have exposed itself as an economic saboteur Time will reveal whether this destructor was none other than ourselves as a nation who committed hara kiri or geopolitical assassins Cost of Conspiracy Theories Obviously despite defeating the violent arm of these movements we have not been able to adequately address the various conspiracies revolving at the time justifying or excusing terrorism or deflecting blame from the culprits This failure had stopped us from identifying and resolving the root causes Consequently terrorism continues to rear itself repeatedly Interestingly none of these terrorist movements are after the same objectives This begs the question whether terrorism is simply a front for a more devious agenda By allowing these conspiracy theories and acting in it we have damaged Sri Lanka by disrupting the rehabilitation of those who have been detained by the law enforcement authorities As was the case with Rajiv Gandhi s case even those convicted of heinous crimes can get released from prison even decades after the crime However if they are not rehabilitated when they are released they will continue to pose a threat to the society by Continuing with terror acts Spreading the ideology Influencing other like minded Emergence of other terrorist paramilitary to counter this threat If this threat is not uprooted completely those in custody killed by counter terrorism will be hailed as heroes martyrs Today LTTE cadres still in prison are those who committed grave crimes against humanity but refuse to be rehabilitated However they are now often referred to as political prisoners They are not political prisoners If a Member of the Parliament may not kill his political opponent then neither can any other Yet this kind of perversion disrupts community engagement programmes For instance after the Easter Attack the Government banned groups such as NTJ SLTJ and ACTJ However this is still only on paper and hence is still active Muslim Community or religious leaders have not yet come forward to stop the ongoing radicalization extremism or exclusivity combination of which produces terrorism This is not necessarily because of sympathy towards these extremists but due to lack of political will Therefore it behoves on the Government and the Opposition to Differentiate between a protester and a terrorist Bring in the necessary laws for the Constitution to accommodate to deal with terrorism terrorists and rehabilitation of terrorists email protected Credit Credit https nnn ng preventative measures needed to curb terrorism
    Preventative Measures Needed To Curb Terrorism
    General news3 weeks ago

    Preventative Measures Needed To Curb Terrorism

    Earlier this month, Justice Minister Dr. Wijayadasa Rajapaksha, PC on behalf of the Government postponed the Parliamentary debate on the controversial Bureau of Rehabilitation Bill scheduled for January 5, 2023 to January 19, 2023. This Bill is for the establishment of a bureau, The Bureau of Rehabilitation, to regulate its powers, duties and functions and to provide for related matters. The Justice Minister assured the House that the Bill was not withdrawn, only postponed.

    The Bill sparked controversy over several provisions as Section 28 (2) where Centres for Rehabilitation personnel ‘to preserve order and discipline’ may use all means “including minimum force as may reasonably be necessary to compel obedience to any lawful directions.”

    Opposition MPs, human rights activists and civil society organisations are concerned the Bill can be used to suppress anti-Government protesters. Last year, former Commissioner of the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka (HRCSL) Ambika Satkunanathan filed a Fundamental Rights Petition against the Bill in October as well.

    The Supreme Court has determined that the Bill is, as a whole, inconsistent with Article 12 (1) of the Constitution, which reads “All persons are equal before the law and are entitled to the equal protection of the law.”

    Therefore this can be enacted only by special majority as required by Article 84 (2) of the Constitution, which Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena informed Parliament on October 20, 2022.

    Furthermore, Supreme Court determined that to remove the inconsistency with Article 12 (1),

    * All references to ‘ex-combatants,’ ‘violent extremist groups,’ and ‘any other group of persons’ must be deleted from the bill,

    * Limited to rehabilitation of drug dependent persons and such other persons as may be identified by law.

    However, since the late 1960s, the youth in this country has been falling prey to various agendas that use terrorism and extremism as its macabre strategy. Therefore, not only are we in urgent need of a preventative measure but also facilities to rehabilitate those who were engaged in acts against the State.

    Clearly, the Supreme Court bound by the Constitution can only interpret according to the provisions of the apex law, which came into being in 1977. At the time, we had already experienced one insurgency and the other was brewing with numerous terrorist groups mushrooming to fight for a ‘Tamil exclusive homeland’.

    Shortly after ushering in the new Constitution, that was promoted as powerful, the North was infested with about 80 different terrorist groups, fighting for one cause but also engaged in a deadly rivalry against each other. Yet, our understanding then of terrorism was at best rudimentary.

    It has been 14 years since we eradicated a three decade terrorist menace. Four years ago, a series of bombs exploded on both the East and West coasts on Easter Sunday. The first half of 2022 was broiled in anti-Government protests with the agenda to push the country into anarchy.

    Metamorphosis of Terrorism

    Our understanding of terrorism thus continues to be challenged. The Easter Attack changed the understanding we had of terrorism garnered from the JVP/LTTE experiences. The anti-Government protests that plagued the Gotabaya Rajapaksa Administration yet again redefined terrorism.

    Taking Sri Lanka’s experiences into account, as noted above, three metamorphic stages of terrorism can be identified.

    1. JVP/LTTE:

    * Armed youth, educated and uneducated, typically from socioeconomically challenged backgrounds;

    * Conscripted forcefully or otherwise to an organisation with a clear hierarchy that train cadres and fund subversive acts;

    * Engaged in subversive and terror activities on command from the hierarchy where independent acts are not tolerated;

    * Seen as freedom fighters, gain sympathy and even support from foreign Governments, international bodies and civil societies;

    * Maniacally focussed on a set of clearly defined goals that cannot be attained democratically.

    2. Easter attack:

    * Educated and affluent men and women with established families, incomes and social status;

    * Identified by the IS ideology by executing terror acts that attracts world attention and thereby that of the IS than conscripted directly by the Organisation;

    * Works independently and arms, trains and funds their own atrocities;

    * While neither the acts nor cause gains these terrorists any sympathy, Governments under severe pressure from enforcing strong anti-terrorist laws by other Governments, international organisations and civil societies;

    * Fanatically driven but the end objective is either not communicated clearly or too fantastic to be credible, definitely unattainable democratically.

    3. Anti-Government protests:

    * On the surface, this was an apolitical, people’s movement – mostly by middle income earners inconvenienced by the shortages and power outages;

    * Supposedly impromptu but managed via social media by vested interest entities including political bodies;

    * Marketed as ‘peaceful’, this won the support of Western Governments, international organisations and civil societies making it politically incorrect for the Government to take action against a movement that was pushing the country into anarchy;

    * Increasingly displayed violent tendencies with islandwide presence;

    * Financed by both invisible funders with a hidden agenda as well as various entities in the business community, mostly who thought this was just a people’s movement against a Government’s mismanagement.

    Different faces, same damage

    Nevertheless, the effect from each episode has been the same diabolical damage to the economy. While many blame the JR Jayewardene Government for opening the economy, submerging the State Owned Enterprises initiated by the predecessor, the Sirimavo Bandaranaike Government, there are other factors for our economic contraction.

    The deliberate acts of sabotage and destruction brought on by these four movements, JVP insurgency, LTTE terrorism, Easter Attack and anarchy must also be taken into account. The current dilemma faced by the hoteliers is a case in point.

    This year began with The Hotels Association of Sri Lanka (THASL) President M. Shanthikumar making his case with President Ranil Wickremesinghe, Central Bank Governor Dr. Nandalal Weerasinghe, Tourism Minister Harin Fernando and multilateral donor agencies as Asian Development Bank and others for a continuation of debt moratorium for another year. He asks for this breathing space to keep hotels operational in 2023 as it is critical to continue to cater to the inflow of tourists that is just picking up.

    Despite being a fully recovered post-COVID destination, the negative perception created by the political and economic crisis in 2022 followed by the mammoth protests have given travellers the impression that the country is unsafe, observes Shanthikumar.

    Hence, until April 2023 the hotels on average are not expected to exceed 25 to 30 percent occupancy. This coupled with the increase in operational costs that cannot be brought down puts hotels at greater risk of having to shut down if timely and adequate support is not given. If hotels are not protected, warns Shanthikumar, the whole tourism industry that provides livelihoods to 12 percent of the population will collapse.

    Even though arrivals had grown from its dismal numbers in 2021 by 207 percent, this is still 69 percent lower in comparison to the record achievement of 2.3 million in 2018. Likewise, despite 313 percent increase in earnings from tourism during the first 11 months of 2022 compared to 2021, this is still less than even one fourth of the USD 4.4 billion earned in 2018.

    This is just one instance of the economic disasters we have faced because of these anti-Government acts. Over the decades, we have lost much of our infrastructure and opportunities. As Shanthikumar points out, recovery is a long and painful process even long after the saboteurs are gone.

    Stemming from the thus weakened economy, we face threats to our sovereignty, freedom and independence. Furthermore, we as a nation are forced to endure being insulted, degraded, discredited, infantilized and worse – pitied.

    Lessons from past Conspiracy Theories

    This underscores the importance of understanding the motive of terrorism, irrespective of the manner it manifests. Yet, this is not an easy feat as various conspiracy theories that precipitate from nowhere misdirect our focus.

    Using Socioeconomics

    For instance, the youth who joined the JVP insurgencies in 1971 and 1987 believed that theirs was a fight against the oppression of the economically challenged by the high-income earners. Alarmed at been a target as well as demoralized by the contracting economy and loss of opportunities, many proprietors and entrepreneurs left the country. Consequently, currently there is a dearth of entrepreneurship in Sri Lanka.

    Yet the education system is yet to take note of these lacunae. Instead of inculcating creativity or leadership, we pursue a certificate-based education even though we do not have the capacity to accommodate all those who qualify for tertiary education. This increases the pressure on the youth and makes them easier prey to nefarious elements.

    Using Ethnicity

    The youth who joined or were forcibly conscripted to the LTTE were indoctrinated that the Tamil language and culture were threatened by the Sinhala Buddhist majoritarianism. Yet, the attack was not merely against the majority community. Even the Muslims, a community smaller than even the Tamils in Sri Lanka, were attacked as well as certain groups in the Tamil Community allegedly kept other Tamil groups suppressed on caste basis. Ultimately, the most who were terrorized by the LTTE were the Tamil civilians, including those who left the country.

    Legally, all Sri Lankan citizens enjoy the same privileges and are treated equally. Factually, the Tamil population living amongst the Sinhalese is greater than in the Northern or Eastern Provinces. In fact, during the height of terrorism, many Tamils living in these two provinces moved to live outside these two provinces.

    Yet the effort is to resolve the ‘National Question’, which remains ambiguous and undefined to date. Last December, in a bid to formulate a road-map for the Party leaders’ talks on ethnic reconciliation, President Ranil Wickremesinghe convened an All Party Leaders’ Conference at the Presidential Secretariat to discuss the ‘national question and other related minority issues’ with Tamil and Muslim parties. The President stated that all political parties should agree to a solution to the ‘ethnic problem’ before the 75th Independence celebration.

    Subsequently, the President’s Office stated that President Ranil Wickremesinghe will brief the Cabinet in February 2023 on the progress of the decisions taken at the All-Party Conference to resolve the major issues in the reconciliation process.

    In the meantime, the Upcountry Tamil Party has approached Norwegian national Eric Solheim to play a role in ‘achieving a lasting solution to the ethnic conflict in Sri Lanka’. Solheim was the peace facilitator of the failed Norway brokered Ceasefire Agreement between the Sri Lankan Government and the LTTE from 2005-2006. Currently, he is acting as President’s ‘International Climate Advisor’.

    As mentioned afore, it is unclear what constitutes the ‘ethnic conflict’. Without clarity on the matter it would be impossible to move forward, especially when the dominant political party of TNA refuses to form a broad political alliance by accommodating any other Tamil party except its traditional allies. Clearly, we are running in circles without a clue to the causes that contributed to LTTE’s strength.

    Using Religious Extremism

    Up to date, no one really understands the motive of the Easter Attack. Hence there are many theories that have floated around since the Attack. This range from,

    * Misinterpretation of the Quran,

    * Revenge for the attack on mosques in New Zealand,

    * Suspicions of a foreign plot because,

     Foreign law enforcement agencies appeared within 24-hours of the Attack (unprecedented despite enduring 30 years of terrorism);
     Two bombers exploded themselves in the Chinese owned hotel, Shangri La, whereas other places had only one bomber;

     The immediate announcement of the MCCC by the then Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera spun its own theories.

    However, protests over shortages are not the beginning but the middle of the chronology. The beginning was with the graduates seeking employment in the State sector as well as those who were promised employment by the Yahapalana Government almost from the day President Gotabaya took Office.

    The sequence of protests followed thereafter include protests,

    * Over the agrochemical ban;

    * From nurses and other healthcare personnel;

    * From teachers and principals over a pending issue of salary anomalies.

    Whether these different protests over issues independent from one another were unrelated is a serious question before us. Either way, it put a spanner in the works as the Gotabaya Administration tried to outrun the huge debt burden the country was straining under with economic growth. However, these never ending protests simply acted as a spanner in the works. The anti-Government protests that almost pushed our country into anarchy have exposed itself as an economic saboteur. Time will reveal whether this destructor was none other than ourselves as a nation who committed hara kiri or geopolitical assassins.

    Cost of Conspiracy Theories

    Obviously, despite defeating the violent arm of these movements, we have not been able to adequately address the various conspiracies revolving at the time, justifying or excusing terrorism or deflecting blame from the culprits.

    This failure had stopped us from identifying and resolving the root causes.

    Consequently, terrorism continues to rear itself repeatedly. Interestingly, none of these terrorist movements are after the same objectives. This begs the question whether terrorism is simply a front for a more devious agenda.

    By allowing these conspiracy theories, and acting in it, we have damaged Sri Lanka by disrupting the rehabilitation of those who have been detained by the law enforcement authorities. As was the case with Rajiv Gandhi’s case, even those convicted of heinous crimes can get released from prison, even decades after the crime. However, if they are not rehabilitated when they are released, they will continue to pose a threat to the society by:

    * Continuing with terror acts

    * Spreading the ideology

    * Influencing other like-minded

    * Emergence of other terrorist/paramilitary to counter this threat

    If this threat is not uprooted completely, those in custody/killed by counter terrorism will be hailed as heroes/martyrs. Today, LTTE cadres still in prison are those who committed grave crimes against humanity but refuse to be rehabilitated. However, they are now often referred to as ‘political prisoners’.

    They are not political prisoners. If a Member of the Parliament may not kill his political opponent, then neither can any other. Yet, this kind of perversion disrupts community engagement programmes.

    For instance, after the Easter Attack, the Government banned groups such as NTJ, SLTJ and ACTJ. However, this is still only on paper and hence is still active. Muslim Community or religious leaders have not yet come forward to stop the ongoing radicalization, extremism or exclusivity – combination of which produces terrorism. This is not necessarily because of sympathy towards these extremists but due to lack of political will.

    Therefore, it behoves on the Government and the Opposition to,

    * Differentiate between a protester and a terrorist,

    * Bring in the necessary laws for the Constitution to accommodate to deal with terrorism, terrorists and rehabilitation of terrorists.

    [email protected]

    Credit:

    Credit: https://nnn.ng/preventative-measures-needed-to-curb-terrorism/

  •  Earlier this month Justice Minister Dr Wijayadasa Rajapaksha PC on behalf of the Government postponed the Parliamentary debate on the controversial Bureau of Rehabilitation Bill scheduled for January 5 2023 to January 19 2023 This Bill is for the establishment of a bureau The Bureau of Rehabilitation to regulate its powers duties and functions and to provide for related matters The Justice Minister assured the House that the Bill was not withdrawn only postponed The Bill sparked controversy over several provisions as Section 28 2 where Centres for Rehabilitation personnel to preserve order and discipline may use all means including minimum force as may reasonably be necessary to compel obedience to any lawful directions Opposition MPs human rights activists and civil society organisations are concerned the Bill can be used to suppress anti Government protesters Last year former Commissioner of the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka HRCSL Ambika Satkunanathan filed a Fundamental Rights Petition against the Bill in October as well The Supreme Court has determined that the Bill is as a whole inconsistent with Article 12 1 of the Constitution which reads All persons are equal before the law and are entitled to the equal protection of the law Therefore this can be enacted only by special majority as required by Article 84 2 of the Constitution which Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena informed Parliament on October 20 2022 Furthermore Supreme Court determined that to remove the inconsistency with Article 12 1 All references to ex combatants violent extremist groups and any other group of persons must be deleted from the bill Limited to rehabilitation of drug dependent persons and such other persons as may be identified by law However since the late 1960s the youth in this country has been falling prey to various agendas that use terrorism and extremism as its macabre strategy Therefore not only are we in urgent need of a preventative measure but also facilities to rehabilitate those who were engaged in acts against the State Clearly the Supreme Court bound by the Constitution can only interpret according to the provisions of the apex law which came into being in 1977 At the time we had already experienced one insurgency and the other was brewing with numerous terrorist groups mushrooming to fight for a Tamil exclusive homeland Shortly after ushering in the new Constitution that was promoted as powerful the North was infested with about 80 different terrorist groups fighting for one cause but also engaged in a deadly rivalry against each other Yet our understanding then of terrorism was at best rudimentary It has been 14 years since we eradicated a three decade terrorist menace Four years ago a series of bombs exploded on both the East and West coasts on Easter Sunday The first half of 2022 was broiled in anti Government protests with the agenda to push the country into anarchy Metamorphosis of Terrorism Our understanding of terrorism thus continues to be challenged The Easter Attack changed the understanding we had of terrorism garnered from the JVP LTTE experiences The anti Government protests that plagued the Gotabaya Rajapaksa Administration yet again redefined terrorism Taking Sri Lanka s experiences into account as noted above three metamorphic stages of terrorism can be identified 1 JVP LTTE Armed youth educated and uneducated typically from socioeconomically challenged backgrounds Conscripted forcefully or otherwise to an organisation with a clear hierarchy that train cadres and fund subversive acts Engaged in subversive and terror activities on command from the hierarchy where independent acts are not tolerated Seen as freedom fighters gain sympathy and even support from foreign Governments international bodies and civil societies Maniacally focussed on a set of clearly defined goals that cannot be attained democratically 2 Easter attack Educated and affluent men and women with established families incomes and social status Identified by the IS ideology by executing terror acts that attracts world attention and thereby that of the IS than conscripted directly by the Organisation Works independently and arms trains and funds their own atrocities While neither the acts nor cause gains these terrorists any sympathy Governments under severe pressure from enforcing strong anti terrorist laws by other Governments international organisations and civil societies Fanatically driven but the end objective is either not communicated clearly or too fantastic to be credible definitely unattainable democratically 3 Anti Government protests On the surface this was an apolitical people s movement mostly by middle income earners inconvenienced by the shortages and power outages Supposedly impromptu but managed via social media by vested interest entities including political bodies Marketed as peaceful this won the support of Western Governments international organisations and civil societies making it politically incorrect for the Government to take action against a movement that was pushing the country into anarchy Increasingly displayed violent tendencies with islandwide presence Financed by both invisible funders with a hidden agenda as well as various entities in the business community mostly who thought this was just a people s movement against a Government s mismanagement Different faces same damage Nevertheless the effect from each episode has been the same diabolical damage to the economy While many blame the JR Jayewardene Government for opening the economy submerging the State Owned Enterprises initiated by the predecessor the Sirimavo Bandaranaike Government there are other factors for our economic contraction The deliberate acts of sabotage and destruction brought on by these four movements JVP insurgency LTTE terrorism Easter Attack and anarchy must also be taken into account The current dilemma faced by the hoteliers is a case in point This year began with The Hotels Association of Sri Lanka THASL President M Shanthikumar making his case with President Ranil Wickremesinghe Central Bank Governor Dr Nandalal Weerasinghe Tourism Minister Harin Fernando and multilateral donor agencies as Asian Development Bank and others for a continuation of debt moratorium for another year He asks for this breathing space to keep hotels operational in 2023 as it is critical to continue to cater to the inflow of tourists that is just picking up Despite being a fully recovered post COVID destination the negative perception created by the political and economic crisis in 2022 followed by the mammoth protests have given travellers the impression that the country is unsafe observes Shanthikumar Hence until April 2023 the hotels on average are not expected to exceed 25 to 30 percent occupancy This coupled with the increase in operational costs that cannot be brought down puts hotels at greater risk of having to shut down if timely and adequate support is not given If hotels are not protected warns Shanthikumar the whole tourism industry that provides livelihoods to 12 percent of the population will collapse Even though arrivals had grown from its dismal numbers in 2021 by 207 percent this is still 69 percent lower in comparison to the record achievement of 2 3 million in 2018 Likewise despite 313 percent increase in earnings from tourism during the first 11 months of 2022 compared to 2021 this is still less than even one fourth of the USD 4 4 billion earned in 2018 This is just one instance of the economic disasters we have faced because of these anti Government acts Over the decades we have lost much of our infrastructure and opportunities As Shanthikumar points out recovery is a long and painful process even long after the saboteurs are gone Stemming from the thus weakened economy we face threats to our sovereignty freedom and independence Furthermore we as a nation are forced to endure being insulted degraded discredited infantilized and worse pitied Lessons from past Conspiracy Theories This underscores the importance of understanding the motive of terrorism irrespective of the manner it manifests Yet this is not an easy feat as various conspiracy theories that precipitate from nowhere misdirect our focus Using Socioeconomics For instance the youth who joined the JVP insurgencies in 1971 and 1987 believed that theirs was a fight against the oppression of the economically challenged by the high income earners Alarmed at been a target as well as demoralized by the contracting economy and loss of opportunities many proprietors and entrepreneurs left the country Consequently currently there is a dearth of entrepreneurship in Sri Lanka Yet the education system is yet to take note of these lacunae Instead of inculcating creativity or leadership we pursue a certificate based education even though we do not have the capacity to accommodate all those who qualify for tertiary education This increases the pressure on the youth and makes them easier prey to nefarious elements Using Ethnicity The youth who joined or were forcibly conscripted to the LTTE were indoctrinated that the Tamil language and culture were threatened by the Sinhala Buddhist majoritarianism Yet the attack was not merely against the majority community Even the Muslims a community smaller than even the Tamils in Sri Lanka were attacked as well as certain groups in the Tamil Community allegedly kept other Tamil groups suppressed on caste basis Ultimately the most who were terrorized by the LTTE were the Tamil civilians including those who left the country Legally all Sri Lankan citizens enjoy the same privileges and are treated equally Factually the Tamil population living amongst the Sinhalese is greater than in the Northern or Eastern Provinces In fact during the height of terrorism many Tamils living in these two provinces moved to live outside these two provinces Yet the effort is to resolve the National Question which remains ambiguous and undefined to date Last December in a bid to formulate a road map for the Party leaders talks on ethnic reconciliation President Ranil Wickremesinghe convened an All Party Leaders Conference at the Presidential Secretariat to discuss the national question and other related minority issues with Tamil and Muslim parties The President stated that all political parties should agree to a solution to the ethnic problem before the 75th Independence celebration Subsequently the President s Office stated that President Ranil Wickremesinghe will brief the Cabinet in February 2023 on the progress of the decisions taken at the All Party Conference to resolve the major issues in the reconciliation process In the meantime the Upcountry Tamil Party has approached Norwegian national Eric Solheim to play a role in achieving a lasting solution to the ethnic conflict in Sri Lanka Solheim was the peace facilitator of the failed Norway brokered Ceasefire Agreement between the Sri Lankan Government and the LTTE from 2005 2006 Currently he is acting as President s International Climate Advisor As mentioned afore it is unclear what constitutes the ethnic conflict Without clarity on the matter it would be impossible to move forward especially when the dominant political party of TNA refuses to form a broad political alliance by accommodating any other Tamil party except its traditional allies Clearly we are running in circles without a clue to the causes that contributed to LTTE s strength Using Religious Extremism Up to date no one really understands the motive of the Easter Attack Hence there are many theories that have floated around since the Attack This range from Misinterpretation of the Quran Revenge for the attack on mosques in New Zealand Suspicions of a foreign plot because Foreign law enforcement agencies appeared within 24 hours of the Attack unprecedented despite enduring 30 years of terrorism Two bombers exploded themselves in the Chinese owned hotel Shangri La whereas other places had only one bomber The immediate announcement of the MCCC by the then Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera spun its own theories However protests over shortages are not the beginning but the middle of the chronology The beginning was with the graduates seeking employment in the State sector as well as those who were promised employment by the Yahapalana Government almost from the day President Gotabaya took Office The sequence of protests followed thereafter include protests Over the agrochemical ban From nurses and other healthcare personnel From teachers and principals over a pending issue of salary anomalies Whether these different protests over issues independent from one another were unrelated is a serious question before us Either way it put a spanner in the works as the Gotabaya Administration tried to outrun the huge debt burden the country was straining under with economic growth However these never ending protests simply acted as a spanner in the works The anti Government protests that almost pushed our country into anarchy have exposed itself as an economic saboteur Time will reveal whether this destructor was none other than ourselves as a nation who committed hara kiri or geopolitical assassins Cost of Conspiracy Theories Obviously despite defeating the violent arm of these movements we have not been able to adequately address the various conspiracies revolving at the time justifying or excusing terrorism or deflecting blame from the culprits This failure had stopped us from identifying and resolving the root causes Consequently terrorism continues to rear itself repeatedly Interestingly none of these terrorist movements are after the same objectives This begs the question whether terrorism is simply a front for a more devious agenda By allowing these conspiracy theories and acting in it we have damaged Sri Lanka by disrupting the rehabilitation of those who have been detained by the law enforcement authorities As was the case with Rajiv Gandhi s case even those convicted of heinous crimes can get released from prison even decades after the crime However if they are not rehabilitated when they are released they will continue to pose a threat to the society by Continuing with terror acts Spreading the ideology Influencing other like minded Emergence of other terrorist paramilitary to counter this threat If this threat is not uprooted completely those in custody killed by counter terrorism will be hailed as heroes martyrs Today LTTE cadres still in prison are those who committed grave crimes against humanity but refuse to be rehabilitated However they are now often referred to as political prisoners They are not political prisoners If a Member of the Parliament may not kill his political opponent then neither can any other Yet this kind of perversion disrupts community engagement programmes For instance after the Easter Attack the Government banned groups such as NTJ SLTJ and ACTJ However this is still only on paper and hence is still active Muslim Community or religious leaders have not yet come forward to stop the ongoing radicalization extremism or exclusivity combination of which produces terrorism This is not necessarily because of sympathy towards these extremists but due to lack of political will Therefore it behoves on the Government and the Opposition to Differentiate between a protester and a terrorist Bring in the necessary laws for the Constitution to accommodate to deal with terrorism terrorists and rehabilitation of terrorists email protected Credit http www dailynews lk 2023 01 09 features 294722 preventative measures needed curb terrorism
    Preventative measures needed to curb terrorism
     Earlier this month Justice Minister Dr Wijayadasa Rajapaksha PC on behalf of the Government postponed the Parliamentary debate on the controversial Bureau of Rehabilitation Bill scheduled for January 5 2023 to January 19 2023 This Bill is for the establishment of a bureau The Bureau of Rehabilitation to regulate its powers duties and functions and to provide for related matters The Justice Minister assured the House that the Bill was not withdrawn only postponed The Bill sparked controversy over several provisions as Section 28 2 where Centres for Rehabilitation personnel to preserve order and discipline may use all means including minimum force as may reasonably be necessary to compel obedience to any lawful directions Opposition MPs human rights activists and civil society organisations are concerned the Bill can be used to suppress anti Government protesters Last year former Commissioner of the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka HRCSL Ambika Satkunanathan filed a Fundamental Rights Petition against the Bill in October as well The Supreme Court has determined that the Bill is as a whole inconsistent with Article 12 1 of the Constitution which reads All persons are equal before the law and are entitled to the equal protection of the law Therefore this can be enacted only by special majority as required by Article 84 2 of the Constitution which Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena informed Parliament on October 20 2022 Furthermore Supreme Court determined that to remove the inconsistency with Article 12 1 All references to ex combatants violent extremist groups and any other group of persons must be deleted from the bill Limited to rehabilitation of drug dependent persons and such other persons as may be identified by law However since the late 1960s the youth in this country has been falling prey to various agendas that use terrorism and extremism as its macabre strategy Therefore not only are we in urgent need of a preventative measure but also facilities to rehabilitate those who were engaged in acts against the State Clearly the Supreme Court bound by the Constitution can only interpret according to the provisions of the apex law which came into being in 1977 At the time we had already experienced one insurgency and the other was brewing with numerous terrorist groups mushrooming to fight for a Tamil exclusive homeland Shortly after ushering in the new Constitution that was promoted as powerful the North was infested with about 80 different terrorist groups fighting for one cause but also engaged in a deadly rivalry against each other Yet our understanding then of terrorism was at best rudimentary It has been 14 years since we eradicated a three decade terrorist menace Four years ago a series of bombs exploded on both the East and West coasts on Easter Sunday The first half of 2022 was broiled in anti Government protests with the agenda to push the country into anarchy Metamorphosis of Terrorism Our understanding of terrorism thus continues to be challenged The Easter Attack changed the understanding we had of terrorism garnered from the JVP LTTE experiences The anti Government protests that plagued the Gotabaya Rajapaksa Administration yet again redefined terrorism Taking Sri Lanka s experiences into account as noted above three metamorphic stages of terrorism can be identified 1 JVP LTTE Armed youth educated and uneducated typically from socioeconomically challenged backgrounds Conscripted forcefully or otherwise to an organisation with a clear hierarchy that train cadres and fund subversive acts Engaged in subversive and terror activities on command from the hierarchy where independent acts are not tolerated Seen as freedom fighters gain sympathy and even support from foreign Governments international bodies and civil societies Maniacally focussed on a set of clearly defined goals that cannot be attained democratically 2 Easter attack Educated and affluent men and women with established families incomes and social status Identified by the IS ideology by executing terror acts that attracts world attention and thereby that of the IS than conscripted directly by the Organisation Works independently and arms trains and funds their own atrocities While neither the acts nor cause gains these terrorists any sympathy Governments under severe pressure from enforcing strong anti terrorist laws by other Governments international organisations and civil societies Fanatically driven but the end objective is either not communicated clearly or too fantastic to be credible definitely unattainable democratically 3 Anti Government protests On the surface this was an apolitical people s movement mostly by middle income earners inconvenienced by the shortages and power outages Supposedly impromptu but managed via social media by vested interest entities including political bodies Marketed as peaceful this won the support of Western Governments international organisations and civil societies making it politically incorrect for the Government to take action against a movement that was pushing the country into anarchy Increasingly displayed violent tendencies with islandwide presence Financed by both invisible funders with a hidden agenda as well as various entities in the business community mostly who thought this was just a people s movement against a Government s mismanagement Different faces same damage Nevertheless the effect from each episode has been the same diabolical damage to the economy While many blame the JR Jayewardene Government for opening the economy submerging the State Owned Enterprises initiated by the predecessor the Sirimavo Bandaranaike Government there are other factors for our economic contraction The deliberate acts of sabotage and destruction brought on by these four movements JVP insurgency LTTE terrorism Easter Attack and anarchy must also be taken into account The current dilemma faced by the hoteliers is a case in point This year began with The Hotels Association of Sri Lanka THASL President M Shanthikumar making his case with President Ranil Wickremesinghe Central Bank Governor Dr Nandalal Weerasinghe Tourism Minister Harin Fernando and multilateral donor agencies as Asian Development Bank and others for a continuation of debt moratorium for another year He asks for this breathing space to keep hotels operational in 2023 as it is critical to continue to cater to the inflow of tourists that is just picking up Despite being a fully recovered post COVID destination the negative perception created by the political and economic crisis in 2022 followed by the mammoth protests have given travellers the impression that the country is unsafe observes Shanthikumar Hence until April 2023 the hotels on average are not expected to exceed 25 to 30 percent occupancy This coupled with the increase in operational costs that cannot be brought down puts hotels at greater risk of having to shut down if timely and adequate support is not given If hotels are not protected warns Shanthikumar the whole tourism industry that provides livelihoods to 12 percent of the population will collapse Even though arrivals had grown from its dismal numbers in 2021 by 207 percent this is still 69 percent lower in comparison to the record achievement of 2 3 million in 2018 Likewise despite 313 percent increase in earnings from tourism during the first 11 months of 2022 compared to 2021 this is still less than even one fourth of the USD 4 4 billion earned in 2018 This is just one instance of the economic disasters we have faced because of these anti Government acts Over the decades we have lost much of our infrastructure and opportunities As Shanthikumar points out recovery is a long and painful process even long after the saboteurs are gone Stemming from the thus weakened economy we face threats to our sovereignty freedom and independence Furthermore we as a nation are forced to endure being insulted degraded discredited infantilized and worse pitied Lessons from past Conspiracy Theories This underscores the importance of understanding the motive of terrorism irrespective of the manner it manifests Yet this is not an easy feat as various conspiracy theories that precipitate from nowhere misdirect our focus Using Socioeconomics For instance the youth who joined the JVP insurgencies in 1971 and 1987 believed that theirs was a fight against the oppression of the economically challenged by the high income earners Alarmed at been a target as well as demoralized by the contracting economy and loss of opportunities many proprietors and entrepreneurs left the country Consequently currently there is a dearth of entrepreneurship in Sri Lanka Yet the education system is yet to take note of these lacunae Instead of inculcating creativity or leadership we pursue a certificate based education even though we do not have the capacity to accommodate all those who qualify for tertiary education This increases the pressure on the youth and makes them easier prey to nefarious elements Using Ethnicity The youth who joined or were forcibly conscripted to the LTTE were indoctrinated that the Tamil language and culture were threatened by the Sinhala Buddhist majoritarianism Yet the attack was not merely against the majority community Even the Muslims a community smaller than even the Tamils in Sri Lanka were attacked as well as certain groups in the Tamil Community allegedly kept other Tamil groups suppressed on caste basis Ultimately the most who were terrorized by the LTTE were the Tamil civilians including those who left the country Legally all Sri Lankan citizens enjoy the same privileges and are treated equally Factually the Tamil population living amongst the Sinhalese is greater than in the Northern or Eastern Provinces In fact during the height of terrorism many Tamils living in these two provinces moved to live outside these two provinces Yet the effort is to resolve the National Question which remains ambiguous and undefined to date Last December in a bid to formulate a road map for the Party leaders talks on ethnic reconciliation President Ranil Wickremesinghe convened an All Party Leaders Conference at the Presidential Secretariat to discuss the national question and other related minority issues with Tamil and Muslim parties The President stated that all political parties should agree to a solution to the ethnic problem before the 75th Independence celebration Subsequently the President s Office stated that President Ranil Wickremesinghe will brief the Cabinet in February 2023 on the progress of the decisions taken at the All Party Conference to resolve the major issues in the reconciliation process In the meantime the Upcountry Tamil Party has approached Norwegian national Eric Solheim to play a role in achieving a lasting solution to the ethnic conflict in Sri Lanka Solheim was the peace facilitator of the failed Norway brokered Ceasefire Agreement between the Sri Lankan Government and the LTTE from 2005 2006 Currently he is acting as President s International Climate Advisor As mentioned afore it is unclear what constitutes the ethnic conflict Without clarity on the matter it would be impossible to move forward especially when the dominant political party of TNA refuses to form a broad political alliance by accommodating any other Tamil party except its traditional allies Clearly we are running in circles without a clue to the causes that contributed to LTTE s strength Using Religious Extremism Up to date no one really understands the motive of the Easter Attack Hence there are many theories that have floated around since the Attack This range from Misinterpretation of the Quran Revenge for the attack on mosques in New Zealand Suspicions of a foreign plot because Foreign law enforcement agencies appeared within 24 hours of the Attack unprecedented despite enduring 30 years of terrorism Two bombers exploded themselves in the Chinese owned hotel Shangri La whereas other places had only one bomber The immediate announcement of the MCCC by the then Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera spun its own theories However protests over shortages are not the beginning but the middle of the chronology The beginning was with the graduates seeking employment in the State sector as well as those who were promised employment by the Yahapalana Government almost from the day President Gotabaya took Office The sequence of protests followed thereafter include protests Over the agrochemical ban From nurses and other healthcare personnel From teachers and principals over a pending issue of salary anomalies Whether these different protests over issues independent from one another were unrelated is a serious question before us Either way it put a spanner in the works as the Gotabaya Administration tried to outrun the huge debt burden the country was straining under with economic growth However these never ending protests simply acted as a spanner in the works The anti Government protests that almost pushed our country into anarchy have exposed itself as an economic saboteur Time will reveal whether this destructor was none other than ourselves as a nation who committed hara kiri or geopolitical assassins Cost of Conspiracy Theories Obviously despite defeating the violent arm of these movements we have not been able to adequately address the various conspiracies revolving at the time justifying or excusing terrorism or deflecting blame from the culprits This failure had stopped us from identifying and resolving the root causes Consequently terrorism continues to rear itself repeatedly Interestingly none of these terrorist movements are after the same objectives This begs the question whether terrorism is simply a front for a more devious agenda By allowing these conspiracy theories and acting in it we have damaged Sri Lanka by disrupting the rehabilitation of those who have been detained by the law enforcement authorities As was the case with Rajiv Gandhi s case even those convicted of heinous crimes can get released from prison even decades after the crime However if they are not rehabilitated when they are released they will continue to pose a threat to the society by Continuing with terror acts Spreading the ideology Influencing other like minded Emergence of other terrorist paramilitary to counter this threat If this threat is not uprooted completely those in custody killed by counter terrorism will be hailed as heroes martyrs Today LTTE cadres still in prison are those who committed grave crimes against humanity but refuse to be rehabilitated However they are now often referred to as political prisoners They are not political prisoners If a Member of the Parliament may not kill his political opponent then neither can any other Yet this kind of perversion disrupts community engagement programmes For instance after the Easter Attack the Government banned groups such as NTJ SLTJ and ACTJ However this is still only on paper and hence is still active Muslim Community or religious leaders have not yet come forward to stop the ongoing radicalization extremism or exclusivity combination of which produces terrorism This is not necessarily because of sympathy towards these extremists but due to lack of political will Therefore it behoves on the Government and the Opposition to Differentiate between a protester and a terrorist Bring in the necessary laws for the Constitution to accommodate to deal with terrorism terrorists and rehabilitation of terrorists email protected Credit http www dailynews lk 2023 01 09 features 294722 preventative measures needed curb terrorism
    Preventative measures needed to curb terrorism
    General news3 weeks ago

    Preventative measures needed to curb terrorism

    Earlier this month, Justice Minister Dr. Wijayadasa Rajapaksha, PC on behalf of the Government postponed the Parliamentary debate on the controversial Bureau of Rehabilitation Bill scheduled for January 5, 2023 to January 19, 2023. This Bill is for the establishment of a bureau, The Bureau of Rehabilitation, to regulate its powers, duties and functions and to provide for related matters. The Justice Minister assured the House that the Bill was not withdrawn, only postponed.

    The Bill sparked controversy over several provisions as Section 28 (2) where Centres for Rehabilitation personnel ‘to preserve order and discipline’ may use all means “including minimum force as may reasonably be necessary to compel obedience to any lawful directions.”

    Opposition MPs, human rights activists and civil society organisations are concerned the Bill can be used to suppress anti-Government protesters. Last year, former Commissioner of the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka (HRCSL) Ambika Satkunanathan filed a Fundamental Rights Petition against the Bill in October as well.

    The Supreme Court has determined that the Bill is, as a whole, inconsistent with Article 12 (1) of the Constitution, which reads “All persons are equal before the law and are entitled to the equal protection of the law.”

    Therefore this can be enacted only by special majority as required by Article 84 (2) of the Constitution, which Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena informed Parliament on October 20, 2022.

    Furthermore, Supreme Court determined that to remove the inconsistency with Article 12 (1),

    * All references to ‘ex-combatants,’ ‘violent extremist groups,’ and ‘any other group of persons’ must be deleted from the bill,

    * Limited to rehabilitation of drug dependent persons and such other persons as may be identified by law.

    However, since the late 1960s, the youth in this country has been falling prey to various agendas that use terrorism and extremism as its macabre strategy. Therefore, not only are we in urgent need of a preventative measure but also facilities to rehabilitate those who were engaged in acts against the State.

    Clearly, the Supreme Court bound by the Constitution can only interpret according to the provisions of the apex law, which came into being in 1977. At the time, we had already experienced one insurgency and the other was brewing with numerous terrorist groups mushrooming to fight for a ‘Tamil exclusive homeland’.

    Shortly after ushering in the new Constitution, that was promoted as powerful, the North was infested with about 80 different terrorist groups, fighting for one cause but also engaged in a deadly rivalry against each other. Yet, our understanding then of terrorism was at best rudimentary.

    It has been 14 years since we eradicated a three decade terrorist menace. Four years ago, a series of bombs exploded on both the East and West coasts on Easter Sunday. The first half of 2022 was broiled in anti-Government protests with the agenda to push the country into anarchy.

    Metamorphosis of Terrorism

    Our understanding of terrorism thus continues to be challenged. The Easter Attack changed the understanding we had of terrorism garnered from the JVP/LTTE experiences. The anti-Government protests that plagued the Gotabaya Rajapaksa Administration yet again redefined terrorism.

    Taking Sri Lanka’s experiences into account, as noted above, three metamorphic stages of terrorism can be identified.

    1. JVP/LTTE:

    * Armed youth, educated and uneducated, typically from socioeconomically challenged backgrounds;

    * Conscripted forcefully or otherwise to an organisation with a clear hierarchy that train cadres and fund subversive acts;

    * Engaged in subversive and terror activities on command from the hierarchy where independent acts are not tolerated;

    * Seen as freedom fighters, gain sympathy and even support from foreign Governments, international bodies and civil societies;

    * Maniacally focussed on a set of clearly defined goals that cannot be attained democratically.

    2. Easter attack:

    * Educated and affluent men and women with established families, incomes and social status;

    * Identified by the IS ideology by executing terror acts that attracts world attention and thereby that of the IS than conscripted directly by the Organisation;

    * Works independently and arms, trains and funds their own atrocities;

    * While neither the acts nor cause gains these terrorists any sympathy, Governments under severe pressure from enforcing strong anti-terrorist laws by other Governments, international organisations and civil societies;

    * Fanatically driven but the end objective is either not communicated clearly or too fantastic to be credible, definitely unattainable democratically.

    3. Anti-Government protests:

    * On the surface, this was an apolitical, people’s movement - mostly by middle income earners inconvenienced by the shortages and power outages;

    * Supposedly impromptu but managed via social media by vested interest entities including political bodies;

    * Marketed as ‘peaceful’, this won the support of Western Governments, international organisations and civil societies making it politically incorrect for the Government to take action against a movement that was pushing the country into anarchy;

    * Increasingly displayed violent tendencies with islandwide presence;

    * Financed by both invisible funders with a hidden agenda as well as various entities in the business community, mostly who thought this was just a people’s movement against a Government’s mismanagement.

    Different faces, same damage

    Nevertheless, the effect from each episode has been the same diabolical damage to the economy. While many blame the JR Jayewardene Government for opening the economy, submerging the State Owned Enterprises initiated by the predecessor, the Sirimavo Bandaranaike Government, there are other factors for our economic contraction.

    The deliberate acts of sabotage and destruction brought on by these four movements, JVP insurgency, LTTE terrorism, Easter Attack and anarchy must also be taken into account. The current dilemma faced by the hoteliers is a case in point.

    This year began with The Hotels Association of Sri Lanka (THASL) President M. Shanthikumar making his case with President Ranil Wickremesinghe, Central Bank Governor Dr. Nandalal Weerasinghe, Tourism Minister Harin Fernando and multilateral donor agencies as Asian Development Bank and others for a continuation of debt moratorium for another year. He asks for this breathing space to keep hotels operational in 2023 as it is critical to continue to cater to the inflow of tourists that is just picking up.

    Despite being a fully recovered post-COVID destination, the negative perception created by the political and economic crisis in 2022 followed by the mammoth protests have given travellers the impression that the country is unsafe, observes Shanthikumar.

    Hence, until April 2023 the hotels on average are not expected to exceed 25 to 30 percent occupancy. This coupled with the increase in operational costs that cannot be brought down puts hotels at greater risk of having to shut down if timely and adequate support is not given. If hotels are not protected, warns Shanthikumar, the whole tourism industry that provides livelihoods to 12 percent of the population will collapse.

    Even though arrivals had grown from its dismal numbers in 2021 by 207 percent, this is still 69 percent lower in comparison to the record achievement of 2.3 million in 2018. Likewise, despite 313 percent increase in earnings from tourism during the first 11 months of 2022 compared to 2021, this is still less than even one fourth of the USD 4.4 billion earned in 2018.

    This is just one instance of the economic disasters we have faced because of these anti-Government acts. Over the decades, we have lost much of our infrastructure and opportunities. As Shanthikumar points out, recovery is a long and painful process even long after the saboteurs are gone.

    Stemming from the thus weakened economy, we face threats to our sovereignty, freedom and independence. Furthermore, we as a nation are forced to endure being insulted, degraded, discredited, infantilized and worse - pitied.

    Lessons from past Conspiracy Theories

    This underscores the importance of understanding the motive of terrorism, irrespective of the manner it manifests. Yet, this is not an easy feat as various conspiracy theories that precipitate from nowhere misdirect our focus.

    Using Socioeconomics

    For instance, the youth who joined the JVP insurgencies in 1971 and 1987 believed that theirs was a fight against the oppression of the economically challenged by the high-income earners. Alarmed at been a target as well as demoralized by the contracting economy and loss of opportunities, many proprietors and entrepreneurs left the country. Consequently, currently there is a dearth of entrepreneurship in Sri Lanka.

    Yet the education system is yet to take note of these lacunae. Instead of inculcating creativity or leadership, we pursue a certificate-based education even though we do not have the capacity to accommodate all those who qualify for tertiary education. This increases the pressure on the youth and makes them easier prey to nefarious elements.

    Using Ethnicity

    The youth who joined or were forcibly conscripted to the LTTE were indoctrinated that the Tamil language and culture were threatened by the Sinhala Buddhist majoritarianism. Yet, the attack was not merely against the majority community. Even the Muslims, a community smaller than even the Tamils in Sri Lanka, were attacked as well as certain groups in the Tamil Community allegedly kept other Tamil groups suppressed on caste basis. Ultimately, the most who were terrorized by the LTTE were the Tamil civilians, including those who left the country.

    Legally, all Sri Lankan citizens enjoy the same privileges and are treated equally. Factually, the Tamil population living amongst the Sinhalese is greater than in the Northern or Eastern Provinces. In fact, during the height of terrorism, many Tamils living in these two provinces moved to live outside these two provinces.

    Yet the effort is to resolve the ‘National Question’, which remains ambiguous and undefined to date. Last December, in a bid to formulate a road-map for the Party leaders’ talks on ethnic reconciliation, President Ranil Wickremesinghe convened an All Party Leaders’ Conference at the Presidential Secretariat to discuss the ‘national question and other related minority issues’ with Tamil and Muslim parties. The President stated that all political parties should agree to a solution to the ‘ethnic problem’ before the 75th Independence celebration.

    Subsequently, the President's Office stated that President Ranil Wickremesinghe will brief the Cabinet in February 2023 on the progress of the decisions taken at the All-Party Conference to resolve the major issues in the reconciliation process.

    In the meantime, the Upcountry Tamil Party has approached Norwegian national Eric Solheim to play a role in ‘achieving a lasting solution to the ethnic conflict in Sri Lanka’. Solheim was the peace facilitator of the failed Norway brokered Ceasefire Agreement between the Sri Lankan Government and the LTTE from 2005-2006. Currently, he is acting as President’s ‘International Climate Advisor’.

    As mentioned afore, it is unclear what constitutes the ‘ethnic conflict’. Without clarity on the matter it would be impossible to move forward, especially when the dominant political party of TNA refuses to form a broad political alliance by accommodating any other Tamil party except its traditional allies. Clearly, we are running in circles without a clue to the causes that contributed to LTTE’s strength.

    Using Religious Extremism

    Up to date, no one really understands the motive of the Easter Attack. Hence there are many theories that have floated around since the Attack. This range from,

    * Misinterpretation of the Quran,

    * Revenge for the attack on mosques in New Zealand,

    * Suspicions of a foreign plot because,

     Foreign law enforcement agencies appeared within 24-hours of the Attack (unprecedented despite enduring 30 years of terrorism);  Two bombers exploded themselves in the Chinese owned hotel, Shangri La, whereas other places had only one bomber;  The immediate announcement of the MCCC by the then Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera spun its own theories.

    However, protests over shortages are not the beginning but the middle of the chronology. The beginning was with the graduates seeking employment in the State sector as well as those who were promised employment by the Yahapalana Government almost from the day President Gotabaya took Office.

    The sequence of protests followed thereafter include protests,

    * Over the agrochemical ban;

    * From nurses and other healthcare personnel;

    * From teachers and principals over a pending issue of salary anomalies.

    Whether these different protests over issues independent from one another were unrelated is a serious question before us. Either way, it put a spanner in the works as the Gotabaya Administration tried to outrun the huge debt burden the country was straining under with economic growth. However, these never ending protests simply acted as a spanner in the works. The anti-Government protests that almost pushed our country into anarchy have exposed itself as an economic saboteur. Time will reveal whether this destructor was none other than ourselves as a nation who committed hara kiri or geopolitical assassins.

    Cost of Conspiracy Theories

    Obviously, despite defeating the violent arm of these movements, we have not been able to adequately address the various conspiracies revolving at the time, justifying or excusing terrorism or deflecting blame from the culprits.

    This failure had stopped us from identifying and resolving the root causes.

    Consequently, terrorism continues to rear itself repeatedly. Interestingly, none of these terrorist movements are after the same objectives. This begs the question whether terrorism is simply a front for a more devious agenda.

    By allowing these conspiracy theories, and acting in it, we have damaged Sri Lanka by disrupting the rehabilitation of those who have been detained by the law enforcement authorities. As was the case with Rajiv Gandhi’s case, even those convicted of heinous crimes can get released from prison, even decades after the crime. However, if they are not rehabilitated when they are released, they will continue to pose a threat to the society by:

    * Continuing with terror acts

    * Spreading the ideology

    * Influencing other like-minded

    * Emergence of other terrorist/paramilitary to counter this threat

    If this threat is not uprooted completely, those in custody/killed by counter terrorism will be hailed as heroes/martyrs. Today, LTTE cadres still in prison are those who committed grave crimes against humanity but refuse to be rehabilitated. However, they are now often referred to as ‘political prisoners’.

    They are not political prisoners. If a Member of the Parliament may not kill his political opponent, then neither can any other. Yet, this kind of perversion disrupts community engagement programmes.

    For instance, after the Easter Attack, the Government banned groups such as NTJ, SLTJ and ACTJ. However, this is still only on paper and hence is still active. Muslim Community or religious leaders have not yet come forward to stop the ongoing radicalization, extremism or exclusivity - combination of which produces terrorism. This is not necessarily because of sympathy towards these extremists but due to lack of political will.

    Therefore, it behoves on the Government and the Opposition to,

    * Differentiate between a protester and a terrorist,

    * Bring in the necessary laws for the Constitution to accommodate to deal with terrorism, terrorists and rehabilitation of terrorists.

    [email protected]

    Credit: http://www.dailynews.lk/2023/01/09/features/294722/preventative-measures-needed-curb-terrorism

  •   NNN is a Nigerian news portal that publishes breaking news in Nigeria and around the world We are honest fair accurate thorough and courageous in collecting reporting and interpreting news in the best interest of the public because truth is the cornerstone of journalism and we diligently strive to determine the truth in every Nigerian news report Contact editor nnn ng Nigeria officially the Federal Republic of Nigeria is a country in West Africa It is the most populous country in Africa It is geographically situated between the Sahel to the north and the Gulf of Guinea to the south in the Atlantic Ocean It covers an area of 923 769 square kilometers 356 669 square miles with a population of over 211 million Nigeria is bordered by Niger to the north Chad to the northeast Cameroon to the east and Benin to the west Nigeria is a federal republic comprising 36 states and the Territory from the Federal Capital where the capital Abuja is located Nigeria s largest city is Lagos one of the largest metropolitan areas in the world and the second largest in Africa Nigeria has been home to several pre colonial indigenous states and kingdoms since the 2nd millennium BCE C with the Nok civilization in the fifteenth century BC C marking the first internal unification in the country The modern state originated with British colonization in the 19th century and took its current territorial form with the amalgamation of the Southern Nigeria Protectorate and the Northern Nigeria Protectorate in 1914 by Lord Lugard The British established administrative and legal structures while practicing indirect rule through traditional chiefdoms in the Nigerian region Nigeria became a formally independent federation on October 1 1960 It experienced a civil war from 1967 to 1970 followed by a succession of democratically elected civilian governments and military dictatorships until achieving stable democracy in the 1999 presidential election The 2015 election was the first time that a sitting president had lost re election Nigeria is a multinational state inhabited by more than 250 ethnic groups speaking 500 different languages all identifying with a wide variety of cultures The three largest ethnic groups are the Hausa in the north the Yoruba in the west and the Igbo in the east who together comprise more than 60 of the total population The official language is English chosen to facilitate linguistic unity at the national level Nigeria s constitution guarantees freedom of religion and is home to some of the largest Muslim and Christian populations in the world simultaneously Nigeria is divided roughly down the middle between Muslims who live mainly in the north and Christians who live mainly in the south indigenous religions such as those originating from the Igbo and Yoruba ethnic groups are a minority Nigeria is a regional power in Africa a middle power in international affairs and is an emerging global power Nigeria s economy is the largest in Africa the 25th largest in the world by nominal GDP and the 25th largest by PPP Nigeria is often referred to as the Giant of Africa due to its large population and economy and is considered an emerging market by the World Bank However the country ranks very low on the Human Development Index and remains one of the most corrupt nations in the world Nigeria is a founding member of the African Union and a member of many international organizations including the United Nations the Commonwealth of Nations NAM the Economic Community of West African States and OPEC It is also a member of the informal MINT group of countries and is one of the Next Eleven economies Newspapers published in Nigeria have a strong tradition of the publish and be convicted principle dating back to the colonial era when the founding fathers of the Nigerian press such as Nnamdi Azikiwe Ernest Ikoli Obafemi Awolowo and Lateef Jakande used their newspapers to fight for independenceUntil the 1990s most publications were owned by the government but private newspapers such as the Daily Trust Nigerian Tribune The Punch Vanguard and The Guardian continued to expose public and private scandals despite government attempts to suppress them Laws related to the media including newspapers are scattered across various pieces of legislation There are few good sources for discussion and analysis of these laws Some newspapers rely heavily on ads that can be placed by companies owned by powerful people In some cases this makes newspapers wary of reporting details of crimes or suspected crimes and sometimes publish articles that clearly paint corrupt individuals in a favorable light An analysis of newspapers shows a strong bias towards coverage by men reflecting prevailing cultural biases Few articles talk about women and there are few photographs of women outside of the fashion sections Although profits have declined since the late 1980s the number of publications has grown steadily As of 2008 there were over 100 national regional or local newspapers Online newspapers have become popular since the rise of internet accessibility in Nigeria more than ten percent of the top fifty websites in the country are dedicated to online newspapers Due to the improvement in mobile penetration and the growth of smartphones Nigerians have started to rely on the internet for news Online newspapers have also been able to circumvent government restrictions because content can be shared without the need for any physical infrastructure The result has been a disruption of the traditional sources of news that have dominated the media industry Recent online newspapers include Sahara Reporters Ripples Nigeria and Premium Times CREDIT WIKIPEDIA There are several newspapers in Nigeria such as Talkoon News Lagos Mirror Daily Times Star Naija Tv StarNT Nigeria Sky News Nigeria Tribune Global Times Nigeria Observer Punch The Tide Nigeria Standard Triumph The Guardian National Post Naija News Newswatch Tell Magazine TheNEWS magazine PM News This Day Investors King Complete Sports Daily Trust TheSun Independent Nigeria National Network Next Leadership Business Day National Mirror Nation Uhuru Times Peoples Daily Newsdiary online Netng TheCable Premium Times Blueprint Newspaper Opinion Nigeria Entertainment Express Daylight Nigeria New Telegraph The Authority Ripples Nigeria Stears Business Politics Nigeria Daily Nigerian The Periscope News Sahara Reporters News Round The Clock The Informant247 Business Hallmark Daily Champion Daily Post Daily Star Nigeria CommunicationsWeek National Network newspaper New Nigerian Nigerian Compass Urhobo Vanguard Thinkers Newspaper National Mi rror The News Journal TheWill Newspaper The ICIR among others News Agency of Nigeria NAN is a news agency owned and run by the Federal Government of Nigeria as is the Nigerian Television Authority NAN was formed partly to easily spread news across the country and to the international community and also as a means to counter negative stories about Nigeria On May 10 1976 a decree establishing the agency was issued but its operations began two years later In March 1978 a board of directors was inaugurated and pilot news operations began on October 2 1978 The NAN provides the General News Service to subscribers in three bulletins that are published daily The agency s website www nannews ng formerly www nan ng was launched on August 8 2016 to provide news to the global audience primarily interested in news about Nigeria the most populous country in Africa The agency has a network of reporters that cover all the states of the federation proving to be a valuable source of reports published by regional and national newspapers that lack national coverage Here you can read about the latest update on Dollar to Naira Dollar to Naira today Naira Aboki Fx Naira to Dollar Euro to Naira Pounds to Naira Usd to Naira Dollar to Naira today Black Market Dollar to Naira Black Market Canadian Dollar to Naira Convert Dollar to Naira Dollar to Naira Exchange Rate Dollar to Naira Pounds to Naira Today Naira to Dollar Today Euro to Naira Today Dollar Rate to Naira Pounds to Naira Black market Dollar to Naira exchange rate today Euro to Naira black market Aboki dollar to Naira today Black market exchange rate Dollar to Naira Naira to pound Naira to usd Cad to naira Rand to naira Naira to Rand Nigerian Currency Bank Dollar to Naira Rate Today Naira to Cedi Cedis to Naira Naira to Euro Ngn to USD USD to NGN Current Dollar to Naira Rate Euro to Naira Today Black Market Dollar to Naira Exchange Rate Today Black Market Usd to Naira Black Market Credit https nnn ng nice vs lens chronicle of the football match december 29 2022 3
    Naija News, Nigerian News, 9jaNews, Today December 30, 2022
      NNN is a Nigerian news portal that publishes breaking news in Nigeria and around the world We are honest fair accurate thorough and courageous in collecting reporting and interpreting news in the best interest of the public because truth is the cornerstone of journalism and we diligently strive to determine the truth in every Nigerian news report Contact editor nnn ng Nigeria officially the Federal Republic of Nigeria is a country in West Africa It is the most populous country in Africa It is geographically situated between the Sahel to the north and the Gulf of Guinea to the south in the Atlantic Ocean It covers an area of 923 769 square kilometers 356 669 square miles with a population of over 211 million Nigeria is bordered by Niger to the north Chad to the northeast Cameroon to the east and Benin to the west Nigeria is a federal republic comprising 36 states and the Territory from the Federal Capital where the capital Abuja is located Nigeria s largest city is Lagos one of the largest metropolitan areas in the world and the second largest in Africa Nigeria has been home to several pre colonial indigenous states and kingdoms since the 2nd millennium BCE C with the Nok civilization in the fifteenth century BC C marking the first internal unification in the country The modern state originated with British colonization in the 19th century and took its current territorial form with the amalgamation of the Southern Nigeria Protectorate and the Northern Nigeria Protectorate in 1914 by Lord Lugard The British established administrative and legal structures while practicing indirect rule through traditional chiefdoms in the Nigerian region Nigeria became a formally independent federation on October 1 1960 It experienced a civil war from 1967 to 1970 followed by a succession of democratically elected civilian governments and military dictatorships until achieving stable democracy in the 1999 presidential election The 2015 election was the first time that a sitting president had lost re election Nigeria is a multinational state inhabited by more than 250 ethnic groups speaking 500 different languages all identifying with a wide variety of cultures The three largest ethnic groups are the Hausa in the north the Yoruba in the west and the Igbo in the east who together comprise more than 60 of the total population The official language is English chosen to facilitate linguistic unity at the national level Nigeria s constitution guarantees freedom of religion and is home to some of the largest Muslim and Christian populations in the world simultaneously Nigeria is divided roughly down the middle between Muslims who live mainly in the north and Christians who live mainly in the south indigenous religions such as those originating from the Igbo and Yoruba ethnic groups are a minority Nigeria is a regional power in Africa a middle power in international affairs and is an emerging global power Nigeria s economy is the largest in Africa the 25th largest in the world by nominal GDP and the 25th largest by PPP Nigeria is often referred to as the Giant of Africa due to its large population and economy and is considered an emerging market by the World Bank However the country ranks very low on the Human Development Index and remains one of the most corrupt nations in the world Nigeria is a founding member of the African Union and a member of many international organizations including the United Nations the Commonwealth of Nations NAM the Economic Community of West African States and OPEC It is also a member of the informal MINT group of countries and is one of the Next Eleven economies Newspapers published in Nigeria have a strong tradition of the publish and be convicted principle dating back to the colonial era when the founding fathers of the Nigerian press such as Nnamdi Azikiwe Ernest Ikoli Obafemi Awolowo and Lateef Jakande used their newspapers to fight for independenceUntil the 1990s most publications were owned by the government but private newspapers such as the Daily Trust Nigerian Tribune The Punch Vanguard and The Guardian continued to expose public and private scandals despite government attempts to suppress them Laws related to the media including newspapers are scattered across various pieces of legislation There are few good sources for discussion and analysis of these laws Some newspapers rely heavily on ads that can be placed by companies owned by powerful people In some cases this makes newspapers wary of reporting details of crimes or suspected crimes and sometimes publish articles that clearly paint corrupt individuals in a favorable light An analysis of newspapers shows a strong bias towards coverage by men reflecting prevailing cultural biases Few articles talk about women and there are few photographs of women outside of the fashion sections Although profits have declined since the late 1980s the number of publications has grown steadily As of 2008 there were over 100 national regional or local newspapers Online newspapers have become popular since the rise of internet accessibility in Nigeria more than ten percent of the top fifty websites in the country are dedicated to online newspapers Due to the improvement in mobile penetration and the growth of smartphones Nigerians have started to rely on the internet for news Online newspapers have also been able to circumvent government restrictions because content can be shared without the need for any physical infrastructure The result has been a disruption of the traditional sources of news that have dominated the media industry Recent online newspapers include Sahara Reporters Ripples Nigeria and Premium Times CREDIT WIKIPEDIA There are several newspapers in Nigeria such as Talkoon News Lagos Mirror Daily Times Star Naija Tv StarNT Nigeria Sky News Nigeria Tribune Global Times Nigeria Observer Punch The Tide Nigeria Standard Triumph The Guardian National Post Naija News Newswatch Tell Magazine TheNEWS magazine PM News This Day Investors King Complete Sports Daily Trust TheSun Independent Nigeria National Network Next Leadership Business Day National Mirror Nation Uhuru Times Peoples Daily Newsdiary online Netng TheCable Premium Times Blueprint Newspaper Opinion Nigeria Entertainment Express Daylight Nigeria New Telegraph The Authority Ripples Nigeria Stears Business Politics Nigeria Daily Nigerian The Periscope News Sahara Reporters News Round The Clock The Informant247 Business Hallmark Daily Champion Daily Post Daily Star Nigeria CommunicationsWeek National Network newspaper New Nigerian Nigerian Compass Urhobo Vanguard Thinkers Newspaper National Mi rror The News Journal TheWill Newspaper The ICIR among others News Agency of Nigeria NAN is a news agency owned and run by the Federal Government of Nigeria as is the Nigerian Television Authority NAN was formed partly to easily spread news across the country and to the international community and also as a means to counter negative stories about Nigeria On May 10 1976 a decree establishing the agency was issued but its operations began two years later In March 1978 a board of directors was inaugurated and pilot news operations began on October 2 1978 The NAN provides the General News Service to subscribers in three bulletins that are published daily The agency s website www nannews ng formerly www nan ng was launched on August 8 2016 to provide news to the global audience primarily interested in news about Nigeria the most populous country in Africa The agency has a network of reporters that cover all the states of the federation proving to be a valuable source of reports published by regional and national newspapers that lack national coverage Here you can read about the latest update on Dollar to Naira Dollar to Naira today Naira Aboki Fx Naira to Dollar Euro to Naira Pounds to Naira Usd to Naira Dollar to Naira today Black Market Dollar to Naira Black Market Canadian Dollar to Naira Convert Dollar to Naira Dollar to Naira Exchange Rate Dollar to Naira Pounds to Naira Today Naira to Dollar Today Euro to Naira Today Dollar Rate to Naira Pounds to Naira Black market Dollar to Naira exchange rate today Euro to Naira black market Aboki dollar to Naira today Black market exchange rate Dollar to Naira Naira to pound Naira to usd Cad to naira Rand to naira Naira to Rand Nigerian Currency Bank Dollar to Naira Rate Today Naira to Cedi Cedis to Naira Naira to Euro Ngn to USD USD to NGN Current Dollar to Naira Rate Euro to Naira Today Black Market Dollar to Naira Exchange Rate Today Black Market Usd to Naira Black Market Credit https nnn ng nice vs lens chronicle of the football match december 29 2022 3
    Naija News, Nigerian News, 9jaNews, Today December 30, 2022
    General news1 month ago

    Naija News, Nigerian News, 9jaNews, Today December 30, 2022

    NNN is a Nigerian news portal that publishes breaking news in Nigeria and around the world. We are honest, fair, accurate, thorough and courageous in collecting, reporting and interpreting news in the best interest of the public, because truth is the cornerstone of journalism and we diligently strive to determine the truth in every Nigerian news report. Contact: editor @ nnn.ng

    "Nigeria, officially the Federal Republic of Nigeria, is a country in West Africa. It is the most populous country in Africa. It is geographically situated between the Sahel to the north and the Gulf of Guinea to the south in the Atlantic Ocean. It covers an area of ​​923 769 square kilometers (356,669 square miles), with a population of over 211 million Nigeria is bordered by Niger to the north, Chad to the northeast, Cameroon to the east, and Benin to the west Nigeria is a federal republic comprising 36 states and the Territory from the Federal Capital, where the capital Abuja is located. Nigeria's largest city is Lagos, one of the largest metropolitan areas in the world and the second largest in Africa.

    Nigeria has been home to several pre-colonial indigenous states and kingdoms since the 2nd millennium BCE. C., with the Nok civilization in the fifteenth century BC. C. marking the first internal unification in the country. The modern state originated with British colonization in the 19th century and took its current territorial form with the amalgamation of the Southern Nigeria Protectorate and the Northern Nigeria Protectorate in 1914 by Lord Lugard. The British established administrative and legal structures while practicing indirect rule through traditional chiefdoms in the Nigerian region. Nigeria became a formally independent federation on October 1, 1960. It experienced a civil war from 1967 to 1970, followed by a succession of democratically elected civilian governments and military dictatorships, until achieving stable democracy in the 1999 presidential election; The 2015 election was the first time that a sitting president had lost re-election.

    Nigeria is a multinational state inhabited by more than 250 ethnic groups speaking 500 different languages, all identifying with a wide variety of cultures. The three largest ethnic groups are the Hausa in the north, the Yoruba in the west, and the Igbo in the east, who together comprise more than 60% of the total population. The official language is English, chosen to facilitate linguistic unity at the national level. Nigeria's constitution guarantees freedom of religion and is home to some of the largest Muslim and Christian populations in the world, simultaneously. Nigeria is divided roughly down the middle between Muslims, who live mainly in the north, and Christians, who live mainly in the south; indigenous religions, such as those originating from the Igbo and Yoruba ethnic groups, are a minority.

    Nigeria is a regional power in Africa, a middle power in international affairs, and is an emerging global power. Nigeria's economy is the largest in Africa, the 25th largest in the world by nominal GDP and the 25th largest by PPP. Nigeria is often referred to as the Giant of Africa due to its large population and economy, and is considered an emerging market by the World Bank. However, the country ranks very low on the Human Development Index and remains one of the most corrupt nations in the world. Nigeria is a founding member of the African Union and a member of many international organizations, including the United Nations, the Commonwealth of Nations, NAM, the Economic Community of West African States, and OPEC. It is also a member of the informal MINT group of countries and is one of the Next Eleven economies.

    Newspapers published in Nigeria have a strong tradition of the "publish and be convicted" principle dating back to the colonial era when the founding fathers of the Nigerian press such as Nnamdi Azikiwe, Ernest Ikoli, Obafemi Awolowo and Lateef Jakande used their newspapers to fight for independence

    Until the 1990s, most publications were owned by the government, but private newspapers such as the Daily Trust, Nigerian Tribune, The Punch, Vanguard and The Guardian continued to expose public and private scandals despite government attempts. to suppress them.

    Laws related to the media, including newspapers, are scattered across various pieces of legislation. There are few good sources for discussion and analysis of these laws.

    Some newspapers rely heavily on ads that can be placed by companies owned by powerful people. In some cases, this makes newspapers wary of reporting details of crimes or suspected crimes, and sometimes publish articles that clearly paint corrupt individuals in a favorable light. An analysis of newspapers shows a strong bias towards coverage by men, reflecting prevailing cultural biases. Few articles talk about women and there are few photographs of women outside of the fashion sections. Although profits have declined since the late 1980s, the number of publications has grown steadily. As of 2008 there were over 100 national, regional or local newspapers.

    Online newspapers have become popular since the rise of internet accessibility in Nigeria; more than ten percent of the top fifty websites in the country are dedicated to online newspapers. Due to the improvement in mobile penetration and the growth of smartphones, Nigerians have started to rely on the internet for news. Online newspapers have also been able to circumvent government restrictions because content can be shared without the need for any physical infrastructure. The result has been a disruption of the traditional sources of news that have dominated the media industry. Recent online newspapers include Sahara Reporters, Ripples Nigeria and Premium Times." CREDIT: WIKIPEDIA

    There are several newspapers in Nigeria such as Talkoon News, Lagos Mirror Daily Times, Star Naija, Tv (StarNT Nigeria), Sky News, Nigeria Tribune, Global Times Nigeria, Observer, Punch, The Tide, Nigeria Standard, Triumph, The Guardian, National Post, Naija News, Newswatch, Tell Magazine, TheNEWS magazine, PM News, This Day, Investors King, Complete Sports, Daily Trust, TheSun, Independent Nigeria, National Network, Next Leadership, Business Day, National Mirror, Nation, Uhuru Times, Peoples Daily, Newsdiary online, Netng, TheCable, Premium Times, Blueprint Newspaper, Opinion Nigeria, Entertainment Express, Daylight Nigeria, New Telegraph, The Authority, Ripples Nigeria, Stears Business, Politics Nigeria, Daily Nigerian, The Periscope News, Sahara Reporters, News Round The Clock, The Informant247, Business Hallmark, Daily Champion, Daily Post Daily Star, Nigeria CommunicationsWeek, National Network (newspaper), New Nigerian, Nigerian Compass, Urhobo Vanguard, Thinkers Newspaper, National Mi rror, The News Journal, TheWill Newspaper, The ICIR, among others.

    News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) is a news agency owned and run by the Federal Government of Nigeria, as is the Nigerian Television Authority. NAN was formed partly to easily spread news across the country and to the international community and also as a means to counter negative stories about Nigeria. On May 10, 1976, a decree establishing the agency was issued, but its operations began two years later. . In March 1978, a board of directors was inaugurated, and pilot news operations began on October 2, 1978. The NAN provides the General News Service to subscribers in three bulletins that are published daily. The agency's website www.nannews.ng (formerly www.nan.ng) was launched on August 8, 2016 to provide news to the global audience primarily interested in news about Nigeria, the most populous country in Africa. The agency has a network of reporters that cover all the states of the federation proving to be a valuable source of reports published by regional and national newspapers that lack national coverage.

    Here, you can read about the latest update on: Dollar to Naira, Dollar to Naira today, Naira, Aboki Fx, Naira to Dollar, Euro to Naira, Pounds to Naira, Usd to Naira, Dollar to Naira today Black Market, Dollar to Naira Black Market, Canadian Dollar to Naira, Convert Dollar to Naira, Dollar to Naira Exchange Rate, Dollar to Naira, Pounds to Naira Today$, Naira to Dollar Today, Euro to Naira Today, Dollar Rate to Naira, Pounds to Naira Black market, Dollar to Naira exchange rate today, Euro to Naira black market, Aboki dollar to Naira today, Black market exchange rate Dollar to Naira, Naira to pound, Naira to usd, Cad to naira, Rand to naira , Naira to Rand, Nigerian Currency, Bank Dollar to Naira Rate Today, Naira to Cedi, Cedis to Naira, Naira to Euro, Ngn to USD, USD to NGN, Current Dollar to Naira Rate, Euro to Naira Today Black Market, Dollar to Naira Exchange Rate Today Black Market, Usd to Naira Black Market.

    Credit: https://nnn.ng/nice-vs-lens-chronicle-of-the-football-match-december-29-2022-3/

  •   HSBC Investment Bank 2023 Exchange Rate Forecast Update December 2022 Increased confidence in the global economy will tend to erode demand for dollars US interest rate ceilings will also limit the reach of the dollar which is still overvalued Net support for the euro from stronger capital inflows EUR USD forecast at 1 10 by end 2023 Sterling will attract support from cheap valuations but no gains against the euro Commodity currencies will be supported by a rebound in the global economy Global optimism will undermine demand for dollars HSBC expects the degree of confidence in the global economy to be a key element through 2023 While HSBC sees risks to the outlook it takes a relatively bullish stance on the outlook and sees the risk that current market expectations are too pessimistic According to HSBC Our thesis focuses on how the global growth slowdown is showing signs of bottoming out suggesting that the bottom of the cycle may be approaching especially relative to very bearish consensus expectations If confidence in the global economy strengthens HSBC expects the dollar to lose ground The dollar has benefited from the Fed s tightening this year and the widening of credit spreads In absolute terms credit spreads will remain favorable in 2023 but HSBC sees diminishing support adds USD rates remain elevated relative to other currencies but the velocity of further gains is likely to slow from here which may also curb rate volatility and remove another leg of support for the USD HSBC also expects stronger growth dynamics and a more stable yield environment to support risk appetite and act as another drag on dollar performance According to HSBC improving risk appetite is the dominant factor Complications Surrounding US Recession Fears HSBC extensively discusses the possibility that the Federal Reserve s rate hikes could trigger a hard landing and recession in the US economy According to HSBC instances of this have been relatively rare in history There is a widespread assumption that a downturn in the US economy will undermine risk assets and support the dollar While HSBC agrees that this is a reasonable argument it adds that it is not guaranteed as any downturn in the economy could undermine the dollar through capital outflows Overall HSBC expects a hard landing to benefit the dollar If the US economy suddenly slows down the market is likely to prefer the USD against most major and EM currencies History would be on their side and USD volatility safe haven supply would try to come back However he also expects the overvalued dollar to limit any potential and sustained support Euro support from a stronger capital account HSBC notes that high energy prices have undermined the euro zone s trade account The ECB s negative interest rate policy has also been a major element in triggering sustained heavy selling of Eurozone securities undermining the capital account These capital flows have undermined the euro HSBC believes there is now reason to expect the capital account to improve especially as the ECB has pushed rates out of negative territory According to HSBC With a cumulative build of almost 5 trillion worth of overseas assets since 2010 there is great potential for these to be repatriated together with higher rates and no further QE from the ECB to crowd up investment An improvement in the capital account would be a crucial element in providing underlying support for the euro Sterling to attract bargain hunters HSBC also sees some tentative evidence that the UK s balance of payments position is stabilising Take note The UK s external balance sheets have been more precarious than those of the eurozone but again there are early signs that some of these forces may be past the worst The overall outlook remains very fragile but sees scope for bargain hunting in UK assets by global fund managers adds Cheap sterling valuations should also encourage income into the current account and may attract more financial investment to the UK However the pound to dollar GBP USD exchange rate is not above 1 2500 Swiss franc to lose ground The yen posted heavy losses in 2022 while the Swiss franc has held up on net gains HSBC expects a reversal in 2023 with the Yen seen as cheap adds We expect the undervaluation of the JPY and the relative overvaluation of the CHF to correct significantly over the course of 2023 The dollar to yen USD JPY exchange rate is forecast to fall back to 130 next year with the dollar to franc USD CHF exchange rate advancing to 0 9600 Commodity currencies are forecast to see limited gains as the dollar loses traction Torque point Q1 2023Q2 2023Q3 2023Q4 2023EUR USD1 061 051 071 091 10USD JPY135136134132130GBP USD1 241 221 231 241 25EUR GBP1 161 161 151 141 14USD CHF0 930 950 950 950 96AUD USD0 690 680 700 720 74NZD USD0 650 640 640 650 65US dollars Canadian dollars1 351 331 291 281 27USD NOK9 809 719 358 998 73USD USD10 2010 199 919 639 45 Credit https www exchangerates org uk news 37156 2022 12 15 2023 exchange rate forecasts from investment bank hsbc update december html
    2023 Exchange Rate Forecasts From Investment Bank HSBC
      HSBC Investment Bank 2023 Exchange Rate Forecast Update December 2022 Increased confidence in the global economy will tend to erode demand for dollars US interest rate ceilings will also limit the reach of the dollar which is still overvalued Net support for the euro from stronger capital inflows EUR USD forecast at 1 10 by end 2023 Sterling will attract support from cheap valuations but no gains against the euro Commodity currencies will be supported by a rebound in the global economy Global optimism will undermine demand for dollars HSBC expects the degree of confidence in the global economy to be a key element through 2023 While HSBC sees risks to the outlook it takes a relatively bullish stance on the outlook and sees the risk that current market expectations are too pessimistic According to HSBC Our thesis focuses on how the global growth slowdown is showing signs of bottoming out suggesting that the bottom of the cycle may be approaching especially relative to very bearish consensus expectations If confidence in the global economy strengthens HSBC expects the dollar to lose ground The dollar has benefited from the Fed s tightening this year and the widening of credit spreads In absolute terms credit spreads will remain favorable in 2023 but HSBC sees diminishing support adds USD rates remain elevated relative to other currencies but the velocity of further gains is likely to slow from here which may also curb rate volatility and remove another leg of support for the USD HSBC also expects stronger growth dynamics and a more stable yield environment to support risk appetite and act as another drag on dollar performance According to HSBC improving risk appetite is the dominant factor Complications Surrounding US Recession Fears HSBC extensively discusses the possibility that the Federal Reserve s rate hikes could trigger a hard landing and recession in the US economy According to HSBC instances of this have been relatively rare in history There is a widespread assumption that a downturn in the US economy will undermine risk assets and support the dollar While HSBC agrees that this is a reasonable argument it adds that it is not guaranteed as any downturn in the economy could undermine the dollar through capital outflows Overall HSBC expects a hard landing to benefit the dollar If the US economy suddenly slows down the market is likely to prefer the USD against most major and EM currencies History would be on their side and USD volatility safe haven supply would try to come back However he also expects the overvalued dollar to limit any potential and sustained support Euro support from a stronger capital account HSBC notes that high energy prices have undermined the euro zone s trade account The ECB s negative interest rate policy has also been a major element in triggering sustained heavy selling of Eurozone securities undermining the capital account These capital flows have undermined the euro HSBC believes there is now reason to expect the capital account to improve especially as the ECB has pushed rates out of negative territory According to HSBC With a cumulative build of almost 5 trillion worth of overseas assets since 2010 there is great potential for these to be repatriated together with higher rates and no further QE from the ECB to crowd up investment An improvement in the capital account would be a crucial element in providing underlying support for the euro Sterling to attract bargain hunters HSBC also sees some tentative evidence that the UK s balance of payments position is stabilising Take note The UK s external balance sheets have been more precarious than those of the eurozone but again there are early signs that some of these forces may be past the worst The overall outlook remains very fragile but sees scope for bargain hunting in UK assets by global fund managers adds Cheap sterling valuations should also encourage income into the current account and may attract more financial investment to the UK However the pound to dollar GBP USD exchange rate is not above 1 2500 Swiss franc to lose ground The yen posted heavy losses in 2022 while the Swiss franc has held up on net gains HSBC expects a reversal in 2023 with the Yen seen as cheap adds We expect the undervaluation of the JPY and the relative overvaluation of the CHF to correct significantly over the course of 2023 The dollar to yen USD JPY exchange rate is forecast to fall back to 130 next year with the dollar to franc USD CHF exchange rate advancing to 0 9600 Commodity currencies are forecast to see limited gains as the dollar loses traction Torque point Q1 2023Q2 2023Q3 2023Q4 2023EUR USD1 061 051 071 091 10USD JPY135136134132130GBP USD1 241 221 231 241 25EUR GBP1 161 161 151 141 14USD CHF0 930 950 950 950 96AUD USD0 690 680 700 720 74NZD USD0 650 640 640 650 65US dollars Canadian dollars1 351 331 291 281 27USD NOK9 809 719 358 998 73USD USD10 2010 199 919 639 45 Credit https www exchangerates org uk news 37156 2022 12 15 2023 exchange rate forecasts from investment bank hsbc update december html
    2023 Exchange Rate Forecasts From Investment Bank HSBC
    General news2 months ago

    2023 Exchange Rate Forecasts From Investment Bank HSBC

    HSBC Investment Bank 2023 Exchange Rate Forecast: Update December 2022. Increased confidence in the global economy will tend to erode demand for dollars. US interest rate ceilings will also limit the reach of the dollar, which is still overvalued. Net support for the euro from stronger capital inflows, EUR/USD forecast at 1.10 by end-2023. Sterling will attract support from cheap valuations, but no gains against the euro. Commodity currencies will be supported by a rebound in the global economy. Global optimism will undermine demand for dollars

    HSBC expects the degree of confidence in the global economy to be a key element through 2023. While HSBC sees risks to the outlook, it takes a relatively bullish stance on the outlook and sees the risk that current market expectations are too pessimistic.

    According to HSBC; "Our thesis focuses on how the global growth slowdown is showing signs of bottoming out, suggesting that the bottom of the cycle may be approaching, especially relative to very bearish consensus expectations."

    If confidence in the global economy strengthens, HSBC expects the dollar to lose ground.

    The dollar has benefited from the Fed's tightening this year and the widening of credit spreads. In absolute terms, credit spreads will remain favorable in 2023, but HSBC sees diminishing support.

    adds; “USD rates remain elevated relative to other currencies, but the velocity of further gains is likely to slow from here, which may also curb rate volatility and remove another leg of support for the USD.” .

    HSBC also expects stronger growth dynamics and a more stable yield environment to support risk appetite and act as another drag on dollar performance.

    According to HSBC; "improving risk appetite is the dominant factor."

    Complications Surrounding US Recession Fears

    HSBC extensively discusses the possibility that the Federal Reserve's rate hikes could trigger a hard landing and recession in the US economy.

    According to HSBC, instances of this have been relatively rare in history.

    There is a widespread assumption that a downturn in the US economy will undermine risk assets and support the dollar.

    While HSBC agrees that this is a reasonable argument, it adds that it is not guaranteed, as any downturn in the economy could undermine the dollar through capital outflows.

    Overall, HSBC expects a hard landing to benefit the dollar; “If the US economy suddenly slows down, the market is likely to prefer the USD against most major and EM currencies. History would be on their side and USD volatility/safe-haven supply would try to come back.”

    However, he also expects the overvalued dollar to limit any potential and sustained support.

    Euro support from a stronger capital account

    HSBC notes that high energy prices have undermined the euro zone's trade account. The ECB's negative interest rate policy has also been a major element in triggering sustained heavy selling of Eurozone securities, undermining the capital account. These capital flows have undermined the euro.

    HSBC believes there is now reason to expect the capital account to improve, especially as the ECB has pushed rates out of negative territory.

    According to HSBC; "With a cumulative build of almost €5 trillion worth of overseas assets since 2010, there is great potential for these to be repatriated together with higher rates and no further QE from the ECB to 'crowd up' investment."

    An improvement in the capital account would be a crucial element in providing underlying support for the euro.

    Sterling to attract bargain hunters

    HSBC also sees some tentative evidence that the UK's balance of payments position is stabilising.

    Take note; "The UK's external balance sheets have been more precarious than those of the eurozone, but again there are early signs that some of these forces may be past the worst."

    The overall outlook remains very fragile but sees scope for bargain hunting in UK assets by global fund managers.

    adds; "Cheap sterling valuations should also encourage income into the current account and may attract more financial investment to the UK."

    However, the pound to dollar (GBP/USD) exchange rate is not above 1.2500.

    Swiss franc to lose ground

    The yen posted heavy losses in 2022, while the Swiss franc has held up on net gains. HSBC expects a reversal in 2023 with the Yen seen as cheap.

    adds; "We expect the undervaluation of the JPY and the relative overvaluation of the CHF to correct significantly over the course of 2023."

    The dollar to yen (USD/JPY) exchange rate is forecast to fall back to 130 next year with the dollar to franc (USD/CHF) exchange rate advancing to 0.9600.

    Commodity currencies are forecast to see limited gains as the dollar loses traction.

    Torque point Q1 2023Q2 2023Q3 2023Q4 2023
    EUR/USD1.061.051.071.091.10
    USD/JPY135136134132130
    GBP/USD1.241.221.231.241.25
    EUR/GBP1.161.161.151.141.14
    USD/CHF0.930.950.950.950.96
    AUD/USD0.690.680.700.720.74
    NZD/USD0.650.640.640.650.65
    US dollars/Canadian dollars1.351.331.291.281.27
    USD/NOK9.809.719.358.998.73
    USD/USD10.2010.199.919.639.45
    Credit: https://www.exchangerates.org.uk/news/37156/2022-12-15-2023-exchange-rate-forecasts-from-investment-bank-hsbc--update-december.html

  •   RMB www RMB co za acted as Mandated Lead Arranger amp Bookrunner for IHS Holding Limited s NYSE IHS IHS Towers 600 million syndicated term loan facility RMB was one of the lead banks on the transaction and applied its in country expertise and global market knowledge in the structuring of this facility IHS Towers is one of the largest independent owners operators and developers of shared communications infrastructure in the world by tower count and is the largest independent multinational towerco solely focused on the emerging markets The Company has nearly 40 000 towers across its 11 markets and a strong track record of delivering growth Conny Konopi Debt amp Trade Solutions Transactor says RMB is proud to facilitate strategic investments that have a powerful economic impact IHS Towers focuses exclusively on emerging markets and with the right funding we hope to ensure its continued growth and contribution of communications infrastructure in sub Saharan Africa and other key regions of focus The initial proceeds of the 600 million were used to repay a 280 million bridge facility that was due to mature in February 2023 and a 76 million USD tranche of IHS Nigerian credit facility that was amortizing and was due to mature in September 2024 The remaining proceeds will be initially left undrawn and can be used for general corporate purposes Miranda Abraham Co Head of Loan Capital Market Solutions adds RMB won this mandate by providing advice on transaction structuring and the best route to market We value IHS Towers as a strategic partner and the opportunity to support them across various initiatives and business requirements As Mandated Lead Arranger and Bookrunner RMB was instrumental in delivering a successful transaction for IHS Towers during a period of macroeconomic uncertainty Onke Mkiva Co Head Debt amp Trade Solutions Africa concludes As a provider of communications infrastructure on a countrywide basis across multiple countries IHS Towers delivers a critical service in enabling mobile connectivity At RMB we are proud to leverage our global expertise innovation and ingenuity to structure a transaction that has enabled the business to refinance existing facilities at tight pricing levels Furthermore the company was able to achieve the desired quantum within a short timeframe less than two months from deal launch
    IHS Holding Limited completes 0 Million Three-Year Bullet-Term Loan
      RMB www RMB co za acted as Mandated Lead Arranger amp Bookrunner for IHS Holding Limited s NYSE IHS IHS Towers 600 million syndicated term loan facility RMB was one of the lead banks on the transaction and applied its in country expertise and global market knowledge in the structuring of this facility IHS Towers is one of the largest independent owners operators and developers of shared communications infrastructure in the world by tower count and is the largest independent multinational towerco solely focused on the emerging markets The Company has nearly 40 000 towers across its 11 markets and a strong track record of delivering growth Conny Konopi Debt amp Trade Solutions Transactor says RMB is proud to facilitate strategic investments that have a powerful economic impact IHS Towers focuses exclusively on emerging markets and with the right funding we hope to ensure its continued growth and contribution of communications infrastructure in sub Saharan Africa and other key regions of focus The initial proceeds of the 600 million were used to repay a 280 million bridge facility that was due to mature in February 2023 and a 76 million USD tranche of IHS Nigerian credit facility that was amortizing and was due to mature in September 2024 The remaining proceeds will be initially left undrawn and can be used for general corporate purposes Miranda Abraham Co Head of Loan Capital Market Solutions adds RMB won this mandate by providing advice on transaction structuring and the best route to market We value IHS Towers as a strategic partner and the opportunity to support them across various initiatives and business requirements As Mandated Lead Arranger and Bookrunner RMB was instrumental in delivering a successful transaction for IHS Towers during a period of macroeconomic uncertainty Onke Mkiva Co Head Debt amp Trade Solutions Africa concludes As a provider of communications infrastructure on a countrywide basis across multiple countries IHS Towers delivers a critical service in enabling mobile connectivity At RMB we are proud to leverage our global expertise innovation and ingenuity to structure a transaction that has enabled the business to refinance existing facilities at tight pricing levels Furthermore the company was able to achieve the desired quantum within a short timeframe less than two months from deal launch
    IHS Holding Limited completes 0 Million Three-Year Bullet-Term Loan
    Africa2 months ago

    IHS Holding Limited completes $600 Million Three-Year Bullet-Term Loan

    RMB (www.RMB.co.za) acted as Mandated Lead Arranger & Bookrunner for IHS Holding Limited’s (NYSE: IHS) (“IHS Towers”) $600 million syndicated term loan facility.

    RMB was one of the lead banks on the transaction and applied its in-country expertise and global market knowledge in the structuring of this facility.

    IHS Towers is one of the largest independent owners, operators and developers of shared communications infrastructure in the world by tower count, and is the largest independent multinational towerco solely focused on the emerging markets.

    The Company has nearly 40,000 towers across its 11 markets and a strong track record of delivering growth.

    Conny Konopi, Debt & Trade Solutions Transactor says, “RMB is proud to facilitate strategic investments that have a powerful economic impact.

    IHS Towers focuses exclusively on emerging markets and with the right funding, we hope to ensure its continued growth and contribution of communications infrastructure in sub-Saharan Africa and other key regions of focus.” The initial proceeds of the $600 million were used to repay a $280 million bridge facility that was due to mature in February 2023 and a $76 million USD tranche of IHS’ Nigerian credit facility that was amortizing and was due to mature in September 2024.

    The remaining proceeds will be initially left undrawn and can be used for general corporate purposes.

    Miranda Abraham, Co-Head of Loan Capital Market Solutions adds, “RMB won this mandate by providing advice on transaction structuring and the best route to market.

    We value IHS Towers as a strategic partner and the opportunity to support them across various initiatives and business requirements.”   As Mandated Lead Arranger and Bookrunner, RMB was instrumental in delivering a successful transaction for IHS Towers during a period of macroeconomic uncertainty.

    Onke Mkiva, Co-Head Debt & Trade Solutions Africa concludes, “As a provider of communications infrastructure on a countrywide basis across multiple countries, IHS Towers delivers a critical service in enabling mobile connectivity.

    At RMB, we are proud to leverage our global expertise, innovation and ingenuity to structure a transaction that has enabled the business to refinance existing facilities at tight pricing levels.

    Furthermore, the company was able to achieve the desired quantum within a short timeframe, less than two months, from deal launch.” 

  •   by Professor Patrick Utomi Chairperson of the Pan African Private Sector Trade amp Investment Committee PAFTRAC http PAFTRAC Afreximbank com The launch this week of the 2022 Africa CEO Trade Survey Report 2022 commissioned by the Pan African Trade and Investment Committee was instructive for a number of reasons The idea that we are now actively seeking the views of our enterprising men and women who provide the goods and services on which we rely is itself worthy of note In the past policy makers opted to operate without this context with predictable results and so we must celebrate all involved for providing this critical angle to the all important task of supporting businesses boosting trade and ultimately improving lives and livelihoods on the continent The results of the survey themselves paint an interesting picture It will come as no surprise that African CEOs are slightly apprehensive about the future Operating in the long shadow of the pandemic shaken by disruptions in delicate global supply chains spooked by war and faced with a possible recession only 50 per cent of CEOs surveyed said they felt confident about the future a lot less than the 93 per cent who were confident about 2022 when they were asked in 2021 Dependant as we are on the outside world for much of what we consume it is little wonder that these global crises are literally felt in our kitchens We cannot carry on like this This is why the confidence that CEOs have in the African Continental Free Trade Agreement is so heartening When fully implemented the AfCFTA will bring down trade barriers on the continent harmonise trade regulations in all member states and in so doing create the largest single market in the world The benefits from this would be incalculable Our combined strength will make us an infinitely more attractive destination for investment encourage value addition and according to the World Bank raise incomes on the continent by 7 per cent and lift as many as forty million people out of poverty This is doable but it means that we have to listen closely to the people who run the businesses especially the SMES on the continent address their concerns anticipate their needs and build an environment that spurs innovation and rewards their hard work Thankfully there are important clues in the report that can guide us What CEOs are telling us is that they need a lot more information and readily so about the opportunities of AfCFTA and also about one another They need facilitation of cross border trade along with payment systems that will enable them to take full advantage of trade area They also need better trade infrastructure and logistics so they can for example move their goods from Lusaka to Abidjan as seamlessly as possible And it goes without saying they need policymakers across Africa to move quickly to realise this dream that finally seems tantalisingly within reach almost six decades after decolonisation So those are the things we need to do First of all we must recognise the preponderance of micro small and medium sized enterprise in the continent s commercial landscape A vast majority of the companies operating in Africa employ less than five hundred people and have less than USD 1 million in annual turnover This recognition must inform the policies that we make as we seek to support growth and investment These companies often run by women and people are notoriously starved of capital which handicaps their expansion and compromises their sustainability We will need to find creative ways to make long term capital to them We will also have to assist them to achieve quality and standards compliance improve packaging and gain access to lucrative markets Given its nature and objectives cross border transactions payments and ease of movement will be critical to the AfCFTA This means we must move quickly to formalise cross border trade assuring traders of the safety security and enforceability of transactions while also facilitating the free movement of people and disencumbering customs processes I am encouraged by the launch of the Pan African Payment and Settlements Systems PAPSS a home grown system through which traders can make and receive payments across currency lines In addition governments also need to invest in trade enabling infrastructure such as roads ports and warehousing Information as indicated by survey respondents will be essential to this enterprise Entrepreneurs are rightfully enthusiastic about the AfCFTA and the prospects that it represents But they will need to be armed with as much information as possible so they can fully participate A one stop shop such as the African Trade Gateway a digital platform developed in partnership with Africa Export Import Bank is exactly the type of innovation that entrepreneurs will need and must be encouraged to harness in their quest for information Ultimately a shared purpose and sense of dedication will be required from all of us for the success of the AfCFTA After decades of trying we are now truly on our way to a building a common market achieving self reliance and fundamentally transforming the nature of our economies We can t do this however without the entrepreneurs up and down our continent We must listen to them work with them and achieve our goals together
    For the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) to deliver on its promise, we must address concerns of entrepreneurs (by Professor Patrick Utomi)
      by Professor Patrick Utomi Chairperson of the Pan African Private Sector Trade amp Investment Committee PAFTRAC http PAFTRAC Afreximbank com The launch this week of the 2022 Africa CEO Trade Survey Report 2022 commissioned by the Pan African Trade and Investment Committee was instructive for a number of reasons The idea that we are now actively seeking the views of our enterprising men and women who provide the goods and services on which we rely is itself worthy of note In the past policy makers opted to operate without this context with predictable results and so we must celebrate all involved for providing this critical angle to the all important task of supporting businesses boosting trade and ultimately improving lives and livelihoods on the continent The results of the survey themselves paint an interesting picture It will come as no surprise that African CEOs are slightly apprehensive about the future Operating in the long shadow of the pandemic shaken by disruptions in delicate global supply chains spooked by war and faced with a possible recession only 50 per cent of CEOs surveyed said they felt confident about the future a lot less than the 93 per cent who were confident about 2022 when they were asked in 2021 Dependant as we are on the outside world for much of what we consume it is little wonder that these global crises are literally felt in our kitchens We cannot carry on like this This is why the confidence that CEOs have in the African Continental Free Trade Agreement is so heartening When fully implemented the AfCFTA will bring down trade barriers on the continent harmonise trade regulations in all member states and in so doing create the largest single market in the world The benefits from this would be incalculable Our combined strength will make us an infinitely more attractive destination for investment encourage value addition and according to the World Bank raise incomes on the continent by 7 per cent and lift as many as forty million people out of poverty This is doable but it means that we have to listen closely to the people who run the businesses especially the SMES on the continent address their concerns anticipate their needs and build an environment that spurs innovation and rewards their hard work Thankfully there are important clues in the report that can guide us What CEOs are telling us is that they need a lot more information and readily so about the opportunities of AfCFTA and also about one another They need facilitation of cross border trade along with payment systems that will enable them to take full advantage of trade area They also need better trade infrastructure and logistics so they can for example move their goods from Lusaka to Abidjan as seamlessly as possible And it goes without saying they need policymakers across Africa to move quickly to realise this dream that finally seems tantalisingly within reach almost six decades after decolonisation So those are the things we need to do First of all we must recognise the preponderance of micro small and medium sized enterprise in the continent s commercial landscape A vast majority of the companies operating in Africa employ less than five hundred people and have less than USD 1 million in annual turnover This recognition must inform the policies that we make as we seek to support growth and investment These companies often run by women and people are notoriously starved of capital which handicaps their expansion and compromises their sustainability We will need to find creative ways to make long term capital to them We will also have to assist them to achieve quality and standards compliance improve packaging and gain access to lucrative markets Given its nature and objectives cross border transactions payments and ease of movement will be critical to the AfCFTA This means we must move quickly to formalise cross border trade assuring traders of the safety security and enforceability of transactions while also facilitating the free movement of people and disencumbering customs processes I am encouraged by the launch of the Pan African Payment and Settlements Systems PAPSS a home grown system through which traders can make and receive payments across currency lines In addition governments also need to invest in trade enabling infrastructure such as roads ports and warehousing Information as indicated by survey respondents will be essential to this enterprise Entrepreneurs are rightfully enthusiastic about the AfCFTA and the prospects that it represents But they will need to be armed with as much information as possible so they can fully participate A one stop shop such as the African Trade Gateway a digital platform developed in partnership with Africa Export Import Bank is exactly the type of innovation that entrepreneurs will need and must be encouraged to harness in their quest for information Ultimately a shared purpose and sense of dedication will be required from all of us for the success of the AfCFTA After decades of trying we are now truly on our way to a building a common market achieving self reliance and fundamentally transforming the nature of our economies We can t do this however without the entrepreneurs up and down our continent We must listen to them work with them and achieve our goals together
    For the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) to deliver on its promise, we must address concerns of entrepreneurs (by Professor Patrick Utomi)
    Africa2 months ago

    For the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) to deliver on its promise, we must address concerns of entrepreneurs (by Professor Patrick Utomi)

    by Professor Patrick Utomi, Chairperson of the Pan-African Private Sector Trade & Investment Committee (PAFTRAC) (http://PAFTRAC.Afreximbank.com).

    The launch this week of the 2022 Africa CEO Trade Survey Report 2022, commissioned by the Pan-African Trade and Investment Committee, was instructive for a number of reasons.

    The idea that we are now actively seeking the views of our enterprising men and women who provide the goods and services on which we rely is itself worthy of note.

    In the past, policy makers opted to operate without this context, with predictable results and so we must celebrate all involved for providing this critical angle to the all-important task of supporting businesses, boosting trade and ultimately improving lives and livelihoods on the continent.

    The results of the survey themselves paint an interesting picture.

    It will  come as no surprise that African CEOs are slightly apprehensive about the future.

    Operating in the long shadow of the pandemic, shaken by disruptions in delicate global supply chains, spooked by war and faced with a possible recession, only 50 per cent of CEOs surveyed said they felt confident about the future, a lot less than the 93 per cent who were confident about 2022 when they were asked in 2021.

    Dependant as we are on the outside world for much of what we consume, it is little wonder that these global crises are literally felt in our kitchens.

    We cannot carry on like this.

    This is why the confidence that CEOs have in the African Continental Free Trade Agreement is so heartening.

    When fully implemented, the AfCFTA will bring down trade barriers on the continent, harmonise trade regulations in all member states and in so doing create the largest single market in the world.

    The benefits from this would be incalculable.

    Our combined strength will make us an infinitely more attractive destination for investment, encourage value addition and according to the World Bank, raise incomes on the continent by 7 per cent and lift as many as forty million people out of poverty.

    This is doable but it means that we have to listen closely to the people who run the businesses, especially the SMES on the continent, address their concerns, anticipate their needs and build an environment that spurs innovation and rewards their hard work.

    Thankfully, there are important clues in the report that can guide us.

    What CEOs are telling us is that they need a lot more information – and readily so – about the opportunities of AfCFTA and also about one another.

    They need facilitation of cross border trade, along with payment systems, that will enable them to take full advantage of trade area.

    They also need better trade infrastructure and logistics so they can, for example, move their goods from Lusaka to Abidjan as seamlessly as possible.

    And it goes without saying, they need policymakers across Africa to move quickly to realise this dream that finally seems tantalisingly within reach, almost six decades after decolonisation.

    So those are the things we need to do.

    First of all, we must recognise the preponderance of micro-small and medium sized enterprise in the continent’s commercial landscape.

    A vast majority of the companies operating in Africa employ less than five hundred people and have less than USD 1 million in annual turnover.

    This recognition must inform the policies that we make, as we seek to support growth and investment.

    These companies, often run by women and people, are notoriously starved of capital which handicaps their expansion and compromises their sustainability.

    We will need to find creative ways to make long term capital to them.

     We will also have to assist them to achieve quality and standards compliance, improve packaging and gain access to lucrative markets.

    Given its nature and objectives, cross-border transactions, payments and ease of movement will be critical to the AfCFTA. 

    This means we must move quickly to formalise cross-border trade, assuring traders of the safety, security and enforceability of transactions, while also facilitating the free movement of people and disencumbering customs processes.

    I am encouraged by the launch of the Pan-African Payment and Settlements Systems (PAPSS), a home grown system through which traders can make and receive payments across currency lines.

    In addition, governments also need to invest in trade-enabling infrastructure, such as roads, ports and warehousing. 

      Information, as indicated by survey respondents, will be essential to this enterprise.

    Entrepreneurs are, rightfully, enthusiastic about the AfCFTA and the prospects that it represents.

    But they will need to be armed with as much information as possible so they can fully participate.

    A one-stop shop, such as the African Trade Gateway, a digital platform developed in partnership with Africa Export-Import Bank, is exactly the type of innovation that entrepreneurs will need and must be encouraged to harness in their quest for information.

    Ultimately, a shared purpose and sense of dedication will be required from all of us for the success of the AfCFTA.

    After decades of trying, we are now truly on our way to a building a common market, achieving self-reliance and fundamentally transforming the nature of our economies.

    We can’t do this, however, without the entrepreneurs up and down our continent.

    We must listen to them, work with them and achieve our goals together. 

     

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